An engineer told his boss to “deal with it” after he was caught sipping a beer during a work Zoom call, an employment tribunal has heard. Doug Andersen was working as a development engineer for RHEON Labs when he was called out by the company’s COO, Tim Brown, for drinking during the virtual meeting in March 2021. The incident led the company to issue Mr Andersen with a written warning, his second That year, after employers first discussed his workplace conduct with him in 2020.
His RHEON bosses first called him to meetings addressing his behavior in 2020 and gave him targets that included acting as “more of a team player” rather than a “superhero lone wolf”.
The Imperial College London graduate was also told to become more “professional” and “organised”, say “thank you more”, and work on his empathy.
Mr Andersen was given his first written warning in January 2021 after bosses grew concerned about his “ongoing behavioral weaknesses and poor attitude at work”.
His second and final warning came on March 5, 2021, following the beer incident, with the tribunal hearing he “responded along the lines of ‘deal with it'” when his drinking was raised by Mr Brown.
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Six months later, in September 2021, Mr Andersen was suspended after university students on placement complained about his poor attitude.
The students said that, while acting as their mentor, he was “quite disappointing” and showed a “lack of care”.
They added the engineer was “rude and negative” and left them feeling “unsupported”.
The engineering firm – which has links with NASA and Imperial College London – considered his previous missteps and warnings and fired Mr Andersen.
The engineer had his last day at RHEON in November 2021.
He told the tribunal that he felt he was unfairly dismissed as bosses viewed him as a “bad leaver”.
But the case was dismissed after the tribunal judge ruled that his sacking was fair.
The presiding judge said RHEON “demonstrated good faith” by appointing him an external coach and found his conduct on the Zoom call was “inappropriate”.
Mr Andersen must now pay the company £9,965 to cover his former employers’ legal fees.
According to the Daily Mail, he now earns approximately £65,000 per year after starting work at London-based engineering firm D3O.