Care worker wins sacking case
By Jon PettyA CARE worker has won her fight to prove she was unfairly dismissed, but had her claim of disability discrimination thrown out.Caroline Hill must now wait for a fresh hearing at which the amount of compensation she will receive from Clacton Family Trust Ltd will be decided.
By Jon Petty
A CARE worker has won her fight to prove she was unfairly dismissed, but had her claim of disability discrimination thrown out.
Caroline Hill must now wait for a fresh hearing at which the amount of compensation she will receive from Clacton Family Trust Ltd will be decided.
The outcome of the case followed a three-day hearing by an employment tribunal sitting in Bury St Edmunds earlier this year.
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Miss Hill, of Skelmersdale Road, Clacton, had alleged she had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when she had been sacked by her manager after admitting having taken five Ecstasy tablets and attempted suicide.
She claimed her distressed condition had been a result of having witnessed a fatal accident at a motorcycle stunt show at Clacton Town's ground in August 2000 while accompanying a group of residents from the charity's home.
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But after considering expert medical evidence, the tribunal panel has ruled Miss Hill's condition had not amounted to a disability within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
However, her claim of unfair dismissal was upheld. Tribunal chairman David Crome said when Miss Hill had made her admissions to manager Jennifer Otte, she should have been suspended pending further inquiries rather than sacked on the spot.
Mr Crome added there appeared to be some doubt over whether Miss Hill
had taken the Ecstasy tablets.
“It does seem remarkable that if she had taken five, she was able to discharge herself from hospital within a few hours,” he said.
“What was being alleged against the applicant amounted to a criminal allegation and should have been treated far more seriously and in depth than by summary dismissal without further inquiry.”
The tribunal was also concerned about an appeal hearing at which Miss Hill had declined to explain herself.
Mr Crome said the appeal had been “very much a kangaroo court” and had failed to be objective.
David Thompson, chairman of the trust, said he felt Miss Hill had contributed to her own dismissal and he expected her eventual compensation would be small.
The Clacton Family Trust is a charity registered to care for 18 children and young people with learning difficulties at its premises in Pier Avenue, Clacton.
Miss Hill could not be contacted for comment last night.