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Nurse loses unfair dismissal claim against States of Guernsey

Nurse loses unfair dismissal claim against States of Guernsey

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Nurse loses unfair dismissal claim against States of Guernsey


A theatre team leader who was employed by the States lost her claim of unfair constructive dismissal after an employment tribunal found there had been no breach of contract.

Victoria Ogden worked at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital for more than three years from January 2017. For much of that time she was Practice Development Lead of Theatres.

Mrs Ogden argued that the States had "failed to act in accordance with medical advice and occupational health recommendations to her direct detriment and failed to adequately support her in the workplace leading to a medical incident".

She also alleged that theatre staff had unlawfully accessed her personal medical records - an allegation which proved to be true.

From May 2019, Mrs Ogden spent considerable periods of time on sick leave. She underwent surgery in June 2019 and experienced two major medical incidents later the same year. She resigned in January 2020. The case before the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal centred on relations between Mrs Ogden and her employer during these final eight months of her employment. 

The day after the second major medical incident, Mrs Ogden's line manager, Mary Carre, was "dumbfounded" to receive a phone call from Mrs Ogden about returning to work imminently. During the call, Ms Carre accused Mrs Ogden of having “bullied her way back into work".

The matter was escalated to the Chief Nurse/Director of Governance. Mrs Ogden sought advice from her union representative, Bob Lanning, regional officer of Unite.

A case conference took place during which Mrs Ogden said that she could not work under Ms Carre until a number of issues had been resolved. Following this meeting, managers received two e mails from Mrs Ogden in quick succession: one proposing to take a year's sabbatical or to resign and a second proposing only to resign.

Mrs Ogden's resignation was accepted, but an offer was made to rescind it. 

During an exit interview with her employer, Mrs Ogden accused Ms Carre of accessing her records and lying about her to Occupation Health. It was disclosed during the hearing that Mrs Ogden's records had indeed been improperly accessed, but not by Ms Carre, and appropriate disciplinary action had already been taken.

The Tribunal concluded that Ms Carre had acted appropriately in her role by raising concerns about Mrs Ogden’s return to work, but that the States had not breached its contract of employment preceding or at the time of Mrs Ogden's resignation, and Mr Ogden's claim was lost.

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