Pro-Golfer Falsely Accused of Inappropriate Behaviour Ruining 28-Year Career in the Sport

A professional golfer has been cleared of all charges after being wrongfully dismissed from his senior position at a prestigious golf club, where he spent a large amount of his 28-year career, for allegedly sending inappropriate, late-night messages to a female at the club.

A Victory of False Accusations

Mark Sturgess, a distinguished PGA-accredited golf professional, has emerged victorious in a case of wrongful dismissal that occurred at the prestigious Cambridge Country Club.

He was accused of making inappropriate comments and confronting allegations of misconduct, Sturgess found himself entangled in a complex web of accusations that an employment tribunal has now deemed to be untrue, some of which involved him allegedly saying he wanted to “lick” the female “all over.”

The line of accusations began when Sturgess faced allegations from Amanda Clark, a fellow colleague at Cambridge Country Club, accusing him of making “unwanted advances of a sexual nature.”

The main comment that set the tone of the hearing was Clark’s accusation that Sturgess allegedly told Ms. Clark, “You smell so good I could lick you all over.” False claims of inappropriate late-night messaging and another fake, questionable remark involving Jimmy Savile even led to Sturgess’s suspension and subsequent dismissal.

Reputation at Stake

The reputation of Cambridge Country Club and Mark Sturgess have both been affected by the false allegation. The club is a state-of-the-art, 18-hole golf course located in Cambridge near the village of Bourn and is known for being exclusive and offering a number or lucrative amenities outside of the golf.

Over his impressive 28-year professional golfing career Sturgess helped to create this luxurious reputation of the club by giving lessons and working in a number of facilities at the club. His entire reputation, which he’d worked his whole life to build, was at risk of collapsing when the false allegations began.

Judge Kerrie Hunt in Watford presided over the employment tribunal, which critiqued the club general manager, David Macdonald’s investigation.

The tribunal revealed to the courtroom that Macdonald’s investigation consisted of “inconsistencies and contradictions” that cast doubt on the truth of the allegations and gave an unfair bias towards Clark. The charges for gross misconduct triggered Sturgess’s dismissal, but the judge said, “I consider that the decision to dismiss was not a fair sanction within the range of reasonable responses that a reasonable the employer would take.”

Sturgess denied the alleged comments and stressed that there was nothing inappropriate in the messages he sent to Ms. Clark. He stressed, “I felt the complaint from Ms. Clark was due to a clash of personalities ‘business-wise’ and to a breakdown in our working relationship.”

However, Sturgess did recognise that sending Clark the messages late at night was inappropriate, to which the judge concluded, “’I find that his explanation that he meant no innuendo and was referencing that she was well turned out and smart at work did not mitigate or excuse his conduct in sending a private message late at night.”

Judge Hunt’s Verdict

As the tribunal suspected, Judge Hunt accused the club of not conducting a fair investigation. As a result, Sturgess was found not guilty and is now looking to rebuild his career and reputation.

The tribunal’s ruling suggested that a final written warning would have sufficed to address any concerns regarding Sturgess’s conduct.

The judge said in her assessment, “I conclude that the club did not carry out a reasonable and sufficient investigation. There were some basic yet fundamental details of the allegations against Mr. Sturgess that [Mr. Macdonald] did not make inquiries about or further investigate the details.”

Despite the false accusations, the tribunal concluded that Sturgess’s compensation would be reduced by 40% due to his acknowledgment that his behaviour in sending late-night messages to Ms.

Clark was out of line. The judge noted, “His inability or unwillingness to accept or acknowledge that receiving such a message may be inappropriate exacerbates the offence.”

What Are the Lessons Learnt?

Mark Sturgess’s triumph in the wrongful dismissal case has majorly affected his reputation, the reputation of the golf club, and that of women who accuse men of inappropriate behaviour.

One positive from this is the victory for the tribunal process and that the correct verdict was eventually found.

The post Pro-Golfer Falsely Accused of Inappropriate Behaviour Ruining 28-Year Career in the Sport first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Aunging.

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