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An accountant who was dismissed from his job for spending too much time at work surfing the internet has been awarded almost £40,000 compensation by an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal.

David Innes was told that his 'excessive' web use (he was accused of reaching over 27,000 web hits) breached company policy at Scottish and Southern Energy. He was dismissed in February 2009.

Mr Innes' manager David Pratt had decided to dismiss him on the basis of an internet usage report. However, at the employment tribunal in Glasgow, Chairman Ian McFatridge said that Pratt had 'no idea' what the report meant and how to interpret it correctly. He had also not asked for advice from Mr Innes' IT department.

The situation may have been exacerbated by a history of mental health problems suffered by Mr Innes, compounded by the recent death of his father. Mr McFatridge said this situation might have led to 'exasperation' on the part of his managers. Although the tribunal found that Mr Innes should have sought medical help for his difficulties, it was found that he had been unfairly dismissed.

Scottish and Southern Energy are currently considering whether an appeal will be launched to challenge the employment tribunal's decision to award compensation. 

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