Charity employee unfairly dismissed after reporting suspected theft

07 Nov 2018 News

A charity worker was unfairly dismissed from her job after raising protected disclosures about potential theft, an employment tribunal has ruled.

The tribunal ruled that Ms V Penlington, whose first name is not provided, was dismissed by the Poor Servants of the Mother of God, a religious charity which provides social care, after raising a protected disclosure during a trial period.

In a judgment published earlier this month, following a hearing in Liverpool in April this year, a panel of a judge and two lay members unanimously decided that this constituted an unfair dismissal.

The tribunal found that the charity did not follow its own probationary period policy, grievance policy or whistle-blowing policy during the period of employment.

Penlington was a probationary employee at a care home in Liverpool run by the charity in April 2017, when she noticed £13.33 missing from petty cash and raised questions about what had happened to it. The money was eventually accounted for by managers, but Penlington was not made aware of what happened to it, and raised it three times by phone and in writing.

Penlington also raised several other concerns about whether the charity’s facilities were properly run, which the charity did not properly investigate, the judgment found. She also raised other concerns that she was being discriminated against, most of which the tribunal found were not well founded.

The tribunal found that her manager had gone on annual leave on 27 April – the date the missing money was first noted – and returned on 11 May to find that she was still concerned about the missing money. At that point he decided to dismiss her, and met with her on 22 May to do so.

But the charity was not entitled to dismiss her for raising proper concerns about a potentially criminal act, which is a protected disclosure, the tribunal ruled.

A remedy hearing will follow within six months.

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