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Care worker who allegedly told service user that she'd 'kill her' loses unfair dismissal action

The patient’s grand-daughter alleged that on 26 April 2018 the care-worker had verbally threatened her grandmother.

Image: Shutterstock/Daisy Daisy

A CARE WORKER at a Midlands nursing home who is alleged to have told an elderly female patient that she would kill her has lost her unfair constructive dismissal action.

In the case, the grand-daughter of the patient told the operators of the care home that she was physically afraid for the welfare of her grandmother if she remained in the care of the staff member.

In her complaint over the incident, the grand-daughter expressed her fears after alleging that the care worker used foul and abusive language towards her grandmother.

The patient’s grand-daughter alleged that on 26 April 2018 the care-worker had verbally threatened her grandmother. 

In response to the complaint, the nursing home suspended the worker with pay and mounted an investigation.

At the disciplinary meeting, the worker had in large part admitted that she had openly complained about the patient but denied using curse words in regard to “killing her”.

The employer stated that while the care worker was a very good and dependable worker, she had “a rather unfortunate prior history of incidents involving vulnerable residents”.

The employer stated that it had previously issued written warnings to the care worker.

It also stated that an issue had also arisen as to the number of tattoos the complainant had and some of the patients had found the tattoos upsetting.

The disciplinary meeting was held on 14 May and the following day, a fellow worker told the care worker that it would be better for her to resign voluntarily with a good reference rather than undergo a formal dismissal.

The care worker told the hearing that her colleague told her this after speaking with their employer.


The care worker said that she was given one day to consider matters and stated that she took this to be an ultimatum.

The care worker resigned the following day and she stated that it was a decision that she had been most unfairly pressured into making.

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She contended that the suggestion that she should resign as a result of the incident “was completely disproportionate”.

The firm denied that any ultimatum had been issued and that no formal decision had been made following the disciplinary hearing.

The firm stated that the resignation was regretted, as the care worker was a good worker, albeit with some relationship difficulties with some vulnerable residents.

The nursing home stated that the resignation was a completely premature decision and was completely unwarranted. 

WRC Adjudication Officer, Michael McEntee found that the care-worker’s claim for constructive unfair dismissal must fail.

McEntee stated that the care worker made a hasty decision to resign, possibly in concert with her colleague, and cannot now claim it was a constructive dismissal.

About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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