Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Care Home Worker Bullied Ill Patients; TRIBUNAL TOLD FORMER CLEANER LEFT RESIDENTS TERRIFIED

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Care Home Worker Bullied Ill Patients; TRIBUNAL TOLD FORMER CLEANER LEFT RESIDENTS TERRIFIED

Article excerpt

Byline: By SARA NICHOL

A CARE home worker terrified mentally ill patients with a campaign of malicious practical jokes, an employment tribunal was told.

Maureen Malone, a former cleaner at St Mary's Nursing Home, in Church Chare, Chester-le-Street, was accused of posing as a CIA agent to scare a paranoid resident.

But that was just one episode in an alleged bullying campaign, which saw Malone and other staff members form a mock jazz band and parade around the home, banging pots and pans and upsetting a patient who was distressed by noise.

Malone, of Wynyard, Chester-le- Street, had worked at the home for seven years.

The tribunal heard she dressedup with a fake pair of plastic breasts and exposed them on a number of occasions to staff members and staff relatives.

She was dismissed in September last year for gross misconduct, after failing to attend two disciplinary hearings.

But Malone claimed to have never received two disciplinary letters and brought her former employers before a Newcastle employment tribunal on the grounds of unfair dismissal.

Margaret Roe, operations director at Carewell Health Care Limited, told the panel she had received an anonymous complaint about a group of staff members last June.

She said: "Following interviews around August 10 it was clear that a small group of staff had been involved in a number of inappropriate incidents.

"Mrs Malone was interviewed and denied causing psychological distress to a service user by dressing-up as a CIA agent.

"She did admit participating in an impromptu jazz band, which caused distress to another service user.

"She also denied exposing her actual breasts, but said she had used some fancy dress breasts and chased the caretaker around part of the home.

"Mrs Malone admitted unprofessional behaviour when we held a meeting with her on September 6, but denied wasting company time. …

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