East Lancashire NHS worker in unfair sacking victory

Chorley Citizen: East Lancashire NHS worker in unfair sacking victory East Lancashire NHS worker in unfair sacking victory

A HOSPITAL technician who took sick leave while dealing with the breakdown of her marriage to a 'violent alcoholic' was sacked just a fortnight after her return to work.

An employment tribunal was told that Karen Marsha, a senior pharmacy technician at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, had been told she could undertake a 'phased' return to her duties.

But after begin given that assurance by her boss, Janine Hey, Mrs Marsha was summoned to a meeting 14 days later and was dismissed by Neil Fletcher, clinical director of pharmacy.

And it was Ms Hey who presented the case for her colleague's dismissal at a hearing on July 30 last year.

An appeal was lodged, chaired by one of the trust's non-executive directors George Boyer, sitting with the operations director Val Bertenshaw and human resources director Ian Brandwood.

But the dismissal decision was confirmed, prompting Mrs Marsha, from Todmorden, to launch an unfair dismissal claim.

Employment judge John Hewitt ruled in favour of the pharmacy technician, who had worked for the trust for 22 years, after a series of hearings.

She is now seeking compensation awards from the trust, including loss of earnings totalling more than £32,000.

An earlier hearing was told that Mrs Marsha suffered domestic problems from 2008 onwards and this culminated in her husband assaulting her in front of their children in 2010.

She was off work with stress for 40 days in 2010.

And after another few short absences, after her return to work, she was off with anxiety and depression for 127 days in 2012.

The judge said in his ruling that the periods of absence were not disputed by Mrs Marsha's representatives.

But he insisted that the trust's 'fatal flaw' was the manner in which they had dealt with her dimissal.

Judge Hewitt said it was 'incongrous' that Ms Hey had both informed Mrs Marsha she could enjoy a phased return to work and then later present the case for her sacking at a hearing just weeks later.

Compensation has still to be decided.

Comments (7)

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11:40am Fri 20 Dec 13

Izanears says...

Knowing what is going on the current shake-up in the NHS in East Lancashire there are many more fearing for there jobs and they have not even been off sick. The NHS is treating its staff worse than cattle.
Knowing what is going on the current shake-up in the NHS in East Lancashire there are many more fearing for there jobs and they have not even been off sick. The NHS is treating its staff worse than cattle. Izanears

12:16pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Owd Akela says...

I agree with Izanears. I was offered the chance to go voluntarily or carry on for another two months with a 'Capability Hearing' at the end and then be dismissed. The word dismissed would be on my record. There was never any mention of a chance of a Capability Hearing.
I agree with Izanears. I was offered the chance to go voluntarily or carry on for another two months with a 'Capability Hearing' at the end and then be dismissed. The word dismissed would be on my record. There was never any mention of a chance of a Capability Hearing. Owd Akela

12:22pm Fri 20 Dec 13

frank says...

Izanears wrote:
Knowing what is going on the current shake-up in the NHS in East Lancashire there are many more fearing for there jobs and they have not even been off sick. The NHS is treating its staff worse than cattle.
to right, having staff try to do more work than they're capable of is just stupid and asking for stress related illness and depression.
i'm seeing it happen now. experienced staff being moved and replaced by someone with no knowledge of how to do a job.
it's hopeless.
managed by idiots.
it's getting ready for breaking up the nhs and 'giving ' away services to private health firms.
the public are being kept in the dark about this. they'll only find out when it's a done deal - when it's too late.
really glad she got the right result.
[quote][p][bold]Izanears[/bold] wrote: Knowing what is going on the current shake-up in the NHS in East Lancashire there are many more fearing for there jobs and they have not even been off sick. The NHS is treating its staff worse than cattle.[/p][/quote]to right, having staff try to do more work than they're capable of is just stupid and asking for stress related illness and depression. i'm seeing it happen now. experienced staff being moved and replaced by someone with no knowledge of how to do a job. it's hopeless. managed by idiots. it's getting ready for breaking up the nhs and 'giving ' away services to private health firms. the public are being kept in the dark about this. they'll only find out when it's a done deal - when it's too late. really glad she got the right result. frank

4:33pm Fri 20 Dec 13

mys says...

22years service with 167 days on the sick for gods sake,it's just a joke this,poor woman I hope she is awarded enough to keep her going till retirement now,there's people out there that take time off work every **** week when there's nothing wrong with them and they don't get sacked,seems to me the trust is just getting rid of staff with any excuse they can use
22years service with 167 days on the sick for gods sake,it's just a joke this,poor woman I hope she is awarded enough to keep her going till retirement now,there's people out there that take time off work every **** week when there's nothing wrong with them and they don't get sacked,seems to me the trust is just getting rid of staff with any excuse they can use mys

4:55pm Fri 20 Dec 13

mavrick says...

Well done on the victory, Now will the so called management be sacked for incompetence? I have long been trying to stir people into action to save the NHS. The hidden face of the NHS is slowly being uncovered. Is it too late? I would have to ask serious questions about the motives of some managers, It would seem the coalition is trying to wreck the NHS beyond repair. All the money being spent is to make the hospitals and health centres viable for the private sector to take on.
Well done on the victory, Now will the so called management be sacked for incompetence? I have long been trying to stir people into action to save the NHS. The hidden face of the NHS is slowly being uncovered. Is it too late? I would have to ask serious questions about the motives of some managers, It would seem the coalition is trying to wreck the NHS beyond repair. All the money being spent is to make the hospitals and health centres viable for the private sector to take on. mavrick

5:31pm Fri 20 Dec 13

It's a spade! says...

Firstly I agree that there are too many "managers" in the NHS who are clueless.They are just riding the gravy train of cushy jobs and guaranteed pensions.

However, it is amazing how much more people manage to suffer from stress, depression and anxiety when they're getting sick pay and as pointed out too many are just taking the p1$$.

As a self-employed taxpayer in the private sector I do resent my taxes being paid to malingerers and so at some point someone has to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough.

I don't think all the detail of this case is laid out here and so it is hard to make an accurate comment (the judgement does appear to say that its the way they did it not why they did that was the problem) but I for one am glad if the powers that be are now taking the matter of recurring sickness within public sector more seriously and attempting to address it. I do also think there should be a cull of non frontline management as well as they too are a drain on resources..
Firstly I agree that there are too many "managers" in the NHS who are clueless.They are just riding the gravy train of cushy jobs and guaranteed pensions. However, it is amazing how much more people manage to suffer from stress, depression and anxiety when they're getting sick pay and as pointed out too many are just taking the p1$$. As a self-employed taxpayer in the private sector I do resent my taxes being paid to malingerers and so at some point someone has to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. I don't think all the detail of this case is laid out here and so it is hard to make an accurate comment (the judgement does appear to say that its the way they did it not why they did that was the problem) but I for one am glad if the powers that be are now taking the matter of recurring sickness within public sector more seriously and attempting to address it. I do also think there should be a cull of non frontline management as well as they too are a drain on resources.. It's a spade!

6:24pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Maxy64 says...

Well said Spade. Never have I known a group of people or a local newspaper so keen to slag off its local hospital. Do you really think this woman would have this amount of time off sick if she didn't get 6 months full pay when off sick. Why do people think that sickness rates in the public sector are twice that in the private sector. One of the reason NHS Staff are over stretched is that sickness rates are so high. Clearly its unfortunate for this lady but should she really be off so often at the taxpayers expense. It doesn't get patients cared for. Maybe the managers decided it was cheaper to sack her and pay the Tribunal than continue to pay her to be off sick. About time someone got hold of the Public Sector absence problem. Well done!
Well said Spade. Never have I known a group of people or a local newspaper so keen to slag off its local hospital. Do you really think this woman would have this amount of time off sick if she didn't get 6 months full pay when off sick. Why do people think that sickness rates in the public sector are twice that in the private sector. One of the reason NHS Staff are over stretched is that sickness rates are so high. Clearly its unfortunate for this lady but should she really be off so often at the taxpayers expense. It doesn't get patients cared for. Maybe the managers decided it was cheaper to sack her and pay the Tribunal than continue to pay her to be off sick. About time someone got hold of the Public Sector absence problem. Well done! Maxy64

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