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Ex-refuge worker loses tribunal claim

PUBLISHED: 05:47 27 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

A FORMER welfare worker has lost her claim for unfair dismissal against a women's refuge in Colchester.

Jan Gavin claimed she was put in a position by Colchester Women's Aid Ltd which made it impossible for her to do her job and resigned.

A FORMER welfare worker has lost her claim for unfair dismissal against a women's refuge in Colchester.

Jan Gavin claimed she was put in a position by Colchester Women's Aid Ltd which made it impossible for her to do her job and resigned.

But the refuge denied the 46-year-old's claims and the tribunal found it had "acted reasonably and properly at all stages."

Mrs Gavin's claim of unfair dismissal was rejected by the Employment Tribunal panel in Bury St Edmunds.

Managers at the refuge had given evidence at the hearing and dismissed the allegations made by Mrs Gavin.

Refuge manager Moyna Barnham told the tribunal that Mrs Gavin had been neither treated unfairly nor victimised.

She said complaints against her had been supported by investigations.

Mrs Barnham said Mrs Gavin had been the subject of the first two written complaints made to the women's refuge from clients and had also failed to complete a project to distribute publicity material. Deputy manager Ann Taylor told the tribunal an internal investigation into the charity's £6,000 a year phone bill showed some staff made unauthorised private calls.

She said Mrs Gavin had clocked up eight hours of calls totalling £65.

Mrs Gavin had earlier said she admitted to the calls and repaid the money.

Miss Taylor said Mrs Gavin had also been in possession of a master key for the refuge for which she was not authorised and she dismissed claims that having the key had been essential.

"It is absurd to suggest Jan having to return this key would have an impact on her being able to do her job," she said.

Tribunal chairman Christopher Ash ordered both sides to submit written closing statements to be considered by the panel before the decision was made.

In its ruling the panel said: "We are satisfied the respondent charity acted reasonably and properly at all stages, that it bore no malice towards the applicant and that they tried their best to deal with her fairly and reasonably at all times.

"We find the applicant has not proved her case. Further we are satisfied that the respondent charity behaved properly and reasonably at all times."

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