A disability charity has been ordered by an employment tribunal to pay thousands of pounds to a nurse it unfairly dismissed.
A Cardiff Employment Tribunal ordered Leonard Cheshire to pay Mrs M Peiu slightly more than £3,000 after a claim of “ordinary” unfair dismissal succeeded, newly published documents show.
Three other claims of detriment and dismissal on grounds of making a protected disclosure, direct race discrimination and vicitmisation were all dismissed.
Peiu initially started working for the charity as a nurse in Ty Cwm care home in Carmarthen in March 2014.
She left in October that year and spent two months working at Morriston Hospital, near Swansea, before returning to the charity in December 2014.
In January 2015 the wife of a service user made a complaint about the quality of care at the home that alleged Peiu had failed to check for vital signs, delayed calling an ambulance and made “inappropriate comments” during a suspected stroke.
Peiu was subsequently suspended, but she claimed that any errors made in the service user’s care were made by an agency nurse before she began her shift, according to the judgment.
The matter was referred to the local council’s safeguarding team which conducted an investigation.
In June 2015 the report concluded that the evidence suggested Peiu failed to take the service user’s temperature, but other claims that she had “ignored signs of a stroke” could not be proven.
The documents show that, given the concerns of the service user’s family, further investigations should be taken by the Nursing and Midwifery Council to assess her “fitness to practice”.
The charity undertook its own investigation in September 2015, according to the judgment.
It concluded in December that year that there were “conflicting versions of what had happened”, but the allegations against Peiu were “downgraded” from less than gross misconduct and it was recommended that her suspension be lifted.
Peiu returned to work nearly a year later in January 2016.
Between then and her dismissal, Pieu raised a number of grievances related to the incident and other staff members, including claims of discrimination and racism that a grievance hearing found she was “unable to find any evidence to support”.
The tribunal heard that it was these grievances that led to the breakdown in the relationship between Peiu and the charity, which had refused to permit and lost some of her evidence.
She was dismissed in November 2017.
In the judgment, employment judge Rachel Harfield said: “The tribunal here ultimately finds that the respondent’s [Leonard Cheshire's] handling of the disciplinary process, particularly with regards to the losing of evidence, not permitting all of the claimant’s [Pieu's] evidence, compounded by delay and viewed in the light of the respondent’s size and resources means that the respondent acted outside the range of reasonable responses in treating the reason as a sufficient reason for dismissing the claimant.
“The ordinary unfair dismissal claim therefore succeeds.”
A Leonard Cheshire spokesperson said: “After a lengthy legal process, we have taken the unique learnings of this case on board and accept the judgment of June 2020.”