Care worker reinstated after being unfairly dismissed

A care worker who was unfairly dismissed has been given her job back after telling an employment tribunal that she was unable to find work elsewhere.

It is rare for a tribunal to order reinstatement but this was an exceptional case.

The care worker maintained two jobs, one with a care home and one with an agency.

The problems began when she was suspended from her post at the care home following allegations that she had mistreated residents. During her suspension while her case was being investigated, she continued working in her second job at the agency.

When the care home found out about her agency work, it began further disciplinary proceedings on the basis that the employer’s handbook stated that staff were not allowed to take second jobs.

The care worker was later dismissed, purely for the reason of failing to notify the care home of her other job. The investigation into the allegations of mistreating patients was never completed.

The tribunal concluded that she had been unfairly dismissed because the employer’s handbook did not actually prohibit second jobs. It merely required the employee to notify the home. The care worker said she had given such notification.

The tribunal awarded her £6,000 compensation and then considered whether to grant her request to be reinstated. She said she had been finding it difficult to find work elsewhere and her efforts were hampered by the fact that the home wouldn’t give her a reference.

The tribunal said the fact that the investigation into allegations of mistreatment had not been concluded led it to believe that they had “absolutely no foundation”. It said the only way to correct the damage to the care worker’s credibility was to order her reinstatement.

Please contact Paul Stevens if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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