Millionaire owner of Colchester United called disgruntled employee an ‘f ****** c ***’, tribunal hears

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A multi-millionaire football president told police he had been “ headbutted ” by a disgruntled employee after an argument between the two, an employment court heard.

Robbie Cowling, chairman and owner of League Two club Colchester United, claimed he had been attacked by Mark Harris, who worked for the club’s Football in the Community charity division.

The tribunal heard that Mr Cowling – who is also the chair of the charity’s trustees – and former gym teacher Mr Harris are swearing at each other in a hallway after a meeting between the two in 2019.

The panel said 60-year-old Mr. Cowling called Mr. Harris a “f *** ing c ***” as the employee walked away. CCTV footage then showed that Mr. Harris responded by turning and “ running into him first. ”

Mr Cowling, who has an estimated net worth of £ 40 million, bought a majority stake in the club in 2006 after making his fortune by founding the online recruiting company JobServe.

Robbie Cowling, 60, (pictured) chairman and owner of League Two club Colchester United, claimed he was attacked by Mark Harris, who worked for the club's Football in the Community charity division.

Robbie Cowling, 60, (pictured) chairman and owner of League Two club Colchester United, claimed he was attacked by Mark Harris, who worked for the club’s Football in the Community charity division.

Mr Harris won a victimization claim by being dismissed against Colchester United FC Football in the Community in the East London Tribunal.

The pair clashed after Mr Harris was fired from the charity in April 2019 and he filed a complaint the following month.

The complaint was dismissed on July 13, when an appeal was filed, attended by Mr Cowling and recorded on a memory stick.

During the four-hour vocational meeting, Mr. Harris asked his boss, Corin Haines, the charity’s CEO, to take disciplinary action and receive professional guidance.

He also asked for an apology from Mr. Haines and to arrange compensation for two former colleagues who had left the charity – stating that he would not discuss his own compensation until their compensation was agreed.

Employment Judge Paul Housego said: “Mr. Cowling boiled over Mr. Harris’s demands, especially the fact that he had conditions regarding others before he even talked about himself.

During the four-hour vocational meeting, Mr. Harris (pictured) asked his boss, Corin Haines, the charity's CEO, to take disciplinary action and receive professional guidance.

During the four-hour vocational meeting, Mr. Harris (pictured) asked his boss, Corin Haines, the charity's CEO, to take disciplinary action and receive professional guidance.

Mr Harris (pictured) has won a victimization claim by being fired against Colchester United FC Football in the Community in the East London Tribunal

Mr Harris (pictured) has won a victimization claim by being fired against Colchester United FC Football in the Community in the East London Tribunal

Mr Harris (pictured) has won a victimization claim by being fired against Colchester United FC Football in the Community in the East London Tribunal

When he went out to hand over the memory stick, he asked Mr. Harris if he had a moment.

He told Mr. Harris that he had taken legal advice and that Mr. Harris’s claim was frivolous and that they would go after him for charges.

Mr. Cowling added that he would defend a claim from an Employment Tribunal at whatever cost.

Harris told Mr. Cowling that the test was vexatious rather than frivolous, then got angry and insulted him with foul language. Mr Cowling responded in kind.

The dialogue seems to indicate that Mr. Cowling urged Mr. Harris to hit him, and the CCTV seen by the Tribunal seems to support this, as Mr. the nose are talking. nose.

The pair clashed after Mr Harris was fired from the charity in April 2019 and he filed a complaint the following month. After a four-hour appeal meeting, “Mr. Cowling told Mr. Harris that he had taken legal advice and that Mr. Harris’s allegation was frivolous and that they would go after him for the charges.” Pictured: JobServe Community Stadium

Harris then turned on his heels and walked away. When he was about 10 yards away, Mr. Cowling said something, no doubt very insulting to Mr. Harris, who spun around, walked right back to Mr. Cowling, and bumped into him, stomach first. ‘

The tribunal decided that Mr Cowling most likely called Mr Harris a ‘f *** ing c ***’ because they believed that Mr Harris had ‘account of the events.

Who is Robbie Cowling and how did he make his fortune?

60-year-old Robbie Cowling made most of his fortune by founding Jobserve – an Internet recruiting service – with his business partner John Witney in 1993.

The organization, which is based in Colchester, Essex, claims to be the world’s first internet recruiting service.

Robbie Cowling, 60, (pictured) made most of his fortune through JobServe co-founder

Robbie Cowling, 60, (pictured) made most of his fortune through JobServe co-founder

Robbie Cowling, 60, (pictured) made most of his fortune through JobServe co-founder

By 2001, it would have controlled up to 80 percent of the IT recruiting market.

Cowling remains the company’s president.

In 2006, he bought Colchester United, after the club had just been promoted to the championship – he took over from Peter Heard, who owned the club for nine years.

In 2007 he became chairman and in 2009 he bought the remaining shares of the club.

His company has close ties with the football club, whose stadium is called ‘JobServe Community Stadium’.

Both men filed a complaint with the police. Mr Cowling said Mr Harris had headbutted him, but the CCTV did not report such contact.

Mr. Harris told the tribunal that everything was going well in his first 10 months at the charity, until December 2018 when he supported a female colleague who resigned at her next complaints meeting.

The tribunal found that the attitude of Mr. Harris’s boss, Corin Haines, the charity’s CEO, then “changed towards him.”

Mr. Haines then fired him on April 5, 2019, because his role was ‘not viable’ because the internship program he was organizing, which would be necessary to provide the income needed to pay him, would no longer take place.

When it failed to attract candidates, the tribunal heard that Mr. Haines was using this as an excuse to fire Mr. Harris.

However, Labor Judge Paul Housego found that the real reason was that Mr. Harris was helping the female colleague during her complaints meeting.

He said, “This was not why Mr. Harris was fired. That was because now that the project had not received any recruits, Mr. Haines could use that as a reason to fire him because he had decided to do so … because his attitude towards Mr. Harris had changed.

“ There is … a causal link between Mr. Harris helping (the colleague) at a complaints meeting, which was in part about discrimination (both disability and gender), which worsened Mr. Haines’ attitude towards Mr. Harris, putting Mr. Harris in the apprenticeship program, and to use his negligence to dismiss Mr. Harris as “not viable”. ‘

On March 22, 2019, Mr. Haines sent documents to Mr. Harris showing that the internship program would cost £ 19,975.

The tribunal heard that Mr Harris was not listed as a cost in the program, but Mr Haines said that if it had 10 trainees it would break even and make a profit of £ 5,000 with 12.

The judge added, “Neither Mr. Harris nor Mr. Cowling come out of this episode with any credit. Mr. Harris seemed the more embarrassed of the two about the incident. ‘

The tribunal ruled that Mr. Harris was the victim of being fired and a new hearing will now take place to decide how much compensation he should receive.