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Care home worker loses unfair dismissal claim after she called service user 'a little s**t'

The WRC dismissed the woman’s claim after finding that her claim was not well-founded.

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A CARE SUPPORT worker was sacked by a care home operator after it found that she called a vulnerable adult in a wheelchair “a little sh*t” and threatened the man with retaliatory violence. 

In the case at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), the woman was sacked for gross misconduct arising from the incident at the home in August 2017 involving the man.

The WRC has now dismissed the woman’s claim for unfair dismissal after finding that her claim was not well-founded.

In the case, the woman claimed that the male resident “had a history of violence” and that she was “placed in danger in having to deal with him”.

The woman also asserted that “as part of his medication he was provided with pornography on stream and that putting a female employee in to deal with this service user was appalling”. 

However, the ‘porn access’ claim was sharply contested by the care home operator who flatly denied that any service user in their responsibility had access to adult material.

The care home operator stated that the care support worker’s ‘porn access’ claim was not raised during the investigation or disciplinary process.

According to WRC Adjudication Officer, Rosaleen Glackin, the care support worker confirmed that she had not raised this issue with her employer.

The woman was sacked arising from a complaint from the service user alleging psychological abuse during an incident at the care home on 8 August 2017.

The employer found that the care support worker had called the care home resident a little s**t, had raised her voice to the user, had pointed her finger at the user and she had threatened the user with retaliatory violence.

At a staff supervision meeting over a week prior to the incident, the worker had expressed issues regarding how she felt about service users and she was reminded to walk away from situations where she felt frustrated

In response, the care support worker – who commenced working at the home in June 2013 – told the hearing that in relation to the incident she had reacted to “a risky situation”. 

The woman asserted that this service user should have been assigned a male employee. 

She argued that rather than being dismissed she should have been assigned to other clients. The woman’s employer made findings and conclusions in relation to eight areas of concern over the 8 August incident and sacked her for gross misconduct on 2 May 2018.

The employer stated that the sanction of dismissal was proportionate to the alleged conduct.

Solicitor for the care support worker, Richard Grogan confirmed on Monday that the WRC ruling is being appealed to the Labour Court adding that it wouldn’t be appropriate to comment on any other aspect of the case at this stage pending the outcome at the Labour Court.

About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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