Care home worker sacked while off sick

A FORMER care home worker was sacked as she waited for an ambulance to take her to hospital, it emerged today.Sharon White, of Felixstowe, called the St Felix Home for the Blind on January 7, the night before she was due to work a shift, to let staff know she would not be coming in the next day because she was unwell.

A FORMER care home worker was sacked as she waited for an ambulance to take her to hospital, it emerged today.

Sharon White, of Felixstowe, called the St Felix Home for the Blind on January 7, the night before she was due to work a shift, to let staff know she would not be coming in the next day because she was unwell.

Two days later, as she waited for treatment for a debilitating migraine, she received a telephone call and was told she had been fired from her part-time post.

Oliver Isaacs, who represented Mrs White at an employment tribunal yesterday, said Ipswich Blind Society (IBS), the cash-strapped charity which runs the home on Princes Rd, Felixstowe, “never informed the claimant (Mrs White) it was considering taking disciplinary action.”


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He added: “A single incident in these circumstances does not amount to gross misconduct.

“And she was dismissed without a meeting or an investigation.”

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Barbara Baillis, a volunteer worker who represented IBS at the hearing, said the limited liability company, which has its headquarters in Tower Street, Ipswich, accepted Mrs White should have been given notice of her dismissal but stressed that at the time it was in a state of turmoil.

She said: “The board had resigned on mass. The organisation was losing lots of money.

“Everybody was at logger heads with everybody else.”

Because IBS did not respond to the claim until 15 days after the deadline Mrs White's claims for wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and disability discrimination were accepted by the employment tribunal service by default in May.

But IBS asked for the decision to be reconsidered and yesterday the tribunal chairman, Jeremy Cole, reviewed the decision.

After hearing evidence from both sides he decided to uphold the wrongful and unfair dismissal default rulings but set aside the disability discrimination case which will now be heard at a further hearing.

He also ordered IBS to pay £639.90 to cover the cost of yesterday's hearing.

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