A DIY store has been criticised by a judge over the way they sacked a Bromsgrove employee.

Birmingham Employment Tribunal judge Bryn Lloyd said the Kidderminster branch of B&Q, where Terence Moran was employed, had treated him far more harshly than any other employee.

As a result Mr Moran of Reed Mace Drive, Woodland Grange - who alleged he had been made a “scapegoat” - won his legal claim for unfair dismissal against B&Q Plc.

Mr Moran, who was said to have had an unblemished work record and regarded as a valued member of staff, had been employed handling a wave machine – a form of forklift truck used for transporting goods from high shelves.

He said he had been been using the machine in a certain way for years with its gates kept open without any problems.

But the tribunal was told that the firm introduced health and safety measures over when the gates should be kept open and closed.

Mr Moran, 61, said he was photographed by an auditor driving the machine with the gates open and was later unfairly dismissed for gross misconduct.

The firm said that using the machine with its gates open had caused a risk to the public as well as to Mr Moran himself.

A new training procedure had been introduced involving the machine, the tribunal was told.

Mr Moran said he would not have driven the machine with the gates open if he had known the firm now regarded the procedure as a health and safety risk.

“I have used the old procedure for six years and I have been a scapegoat,” he said.

“Another employee involved in a similar issue was not treated as badly as I was.”

Mr Lloyd said Mr Moran had been “kept in the dark” over the correct procedure in using the machine and said it had been remiss of the firm, considering its was such a large organisation.

The judge described Mr Moran as a man of integrity who had worked the old system for years and it would have been simple to provide him hands on training over the new procedure.

“The respondents did not appear comfortable in giving evidence and the claimant was treated far more harshly than anyone else," Mr Lloyd said.

“The respondents acted outside reasonable responses and Mr Moran was unfairly dismissed.”

Mr Lloyd suggested the respondents and Mr Moran might consider coming to a private agreement over an award to avoid a further tribunal hearing.