Childcare worker awarded £2,200

PUBLISHED: 12:43 24 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010

A CHILDCARE worker who was unfairly sacked because her boss failed to follow proper procedures is to receive more than £2,200 compensation. Samantha Loxley returned to an employment tribunal for a hearing to determine how much she should get from the owne

A CHILDCARE worker who was unfairly sacked because her boss failed to follow proper procedures is to receive more than £2,200 compensation.

Samantha Loxley returned to an employment tribunal for a hearing to determine how much she should get from the owners of the Highfields Day Nursery in Station Road, Braughing.

Following a hearing in February the tribunal at Bury St Edmunds upheld claims from Miss Loxley of unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal.

A third claim that her sacking was linked to having raised health and safety concerns was dismissed.

Miss Loxley is to receive £2,286, although it is 25 per cent less than the amount she woulld otherwise have been awarded, because tribunal chairman Kevin Palmer ruled she had partly contributed to the situation which led to her losing her job.

Miss Loxley was sacked in August last year for alleged gross misconduct.

Owner Christine Raniere said there had been a complete breakdown of trust as well as falsification of records after Miss Loxley was twice late for work, but signed in using an earlier time.

The decision to sack Miss Loxley was taken following two incidents in which Mrs Raniere's husband arrived at the nursery after 7.15am - the time when she should have been opening up - to find no one there.

On each occasion Scott Raniere said he then went to a nearby shop and returned a short time later to find that Miss Loxley had arrived, but signed herself in at 7.15am on the nursery timesheet.

After a meeting at which Miss Loxley continued to insist that she had only been a couple of minutes late on one day, and not at all on the other, the decision was taken to dismiss her for gross misconduct.

Mrs Raniere said she had to be able to fully trust her staff to maintain the strict standards imposed by her Ofsted registration, and considered that the actions of Miss Loxley had caused that trust to break down.

Mr Palmer said Mrs Raniere had failed to follow correct procedures in dismissing Miss Loxley, which automatically made it unfair.

He also said that the panel considered that if correct procedure had been adhered to, the dismissal would have still been unfair, taking into account all the circumstances.

He said it was the unanimous decision of the three-member panel that no disclosures or complaints that Miss Loxley made had exposed her to adverse treatment.

Mrs Raniere said health and safety allegations made to the tribunal by Miss Loxley about her business were groundless and untrue. Some issues had been dealt with months earlier, while others did not exist.

Those allegations included mouse droppings in the kitchen at the nursery, radiators uncovered, no fire drill for 18 months, and the garden overgrown with thistles and nettles.

The welfare of children in her care was paramount, she said.

Before disciplinary action was started against her, Miss Loxley had never raised health and safety concerns, said Mrs Raniere.

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