29 July 2015 #Employment
A tribunal has ruled that an NHS chief unfairly dismissed an employee after she refused his advances. The claimant managed the HR department at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, and had a strong working relationship with the defendant, regularly meeting up with him to discuss work over lunch.
The claimant began to feel uncomfortable with the relationship when the defendant indicated that he had refused to promote a member of staff, in order to please her. When she attempted to set parameters in their relationship, the defendant turned against her, humiliating her and sending a string of abusive text messages.
When a complaint was lodged against the claimant from another member of staff, the defendant abused his position and took the decision to suspend the claimant, before having her escorted from the building.
The tribunal ruled that the claimant was unfairly dismissed, describing the defendant as “bullying and manipulative”.
The CEO has also been suspended after the tribunal found that he protected the defendant, allowing him to retire with his ‘good name’ intact. Health watchdog, Monitor, will launch an investigation into the running of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to uncover any other management issues within the organisation.
This case highlights the importance of ensuring equality, respect and dignity in the workplace. Robust procedures are crucial for commencing disciplinary investigations and suspending staff, to minimise arbitrary use and abuse of processes. Employees should also be given regular training to avoid bullying and harassment in the workplace.