Childcare worker was unfairly dismissed

The Employment Appeals Tribunal has ordered a créche to pay €15,000 to a childcare worker it deemed was unfairly dismissed.

Paula Fox was dismissed by Clevercoggs Full Day Care Nursery, Drumbear, Co Monaghan, in 2011 after a child under her care made its way to the toilet area and was playing in a toilet bowl.


The tribunal report records that “the same child again left the room unaccompanied on at least two occasions”.


The owner of the centre told the tribunal that she considered the incident major, and said that “it could have led to anything from e-coli to the drowning of the ‘wobbler’.”


On the day in question, March 11, 2011, five incidents were outlined that led to Ms Fox’s dismissal.


The tribunal report states that Ms Fox did not deny that the incidents occurred, but contended staff-to-child ratios were not adhered to by the créche and gave evidence of arriving into work that morning and being told people were off.


Ms Fox confirmed at the hearing that the incident of the child going to the toilet did occur when her colleague was on a break.


She admitted that it was neglectful, but she stated that someone should have been in the room with her at that stage as she had five children in the sleeping room and four awake.


Ms Fox said she never considered that she might lose her job and was left devastated by the incident.


At a disciplinary meeting on April 5, 2011, statements were read out to Ms Fox and she did not refute any allegation, but said that it had been a stressful day and if someone had been working with her none of it would have happened.


A créche manager told the tribunal that regardless of staff days off or sick leave, there is always cover taken from a relief panel and at no time would Clevercoggs have been over ratio.


An assistant manager told the tribunal that nobody who works at the créche is left isolated “and if you say you need help there is always somebody there to come to your assistance”. The report records that “she checked ratios for the day in question and the claimant’s [Ms Fox] figures didn’t add up”.


The tribunal found Ms Fox was unfairly dismissed and found that in each incident too much blame was apportioned and her part in each matter did not individually or collectively amount to misconduct.


It found the créche “had failed to provide any or any adequate, childproof, door- closing mechanism to ensure that children could not escape from the rooms in which they were present”.


A spokeswoman for Clevercoggs said yesterday that child-staffing ratios “were correct on the day in question” and the tribunal, in not making any references to child-staffing ratios in its determination supports that fact. She said “there is a strong chance” Clevercoggs will appeal the tribunal’s decision to the circuit court. She pointed out that to have closing mechanisms on the childproof doors would be contrary to regulations.


“We are in business seven years. We have always striven to provide a very high standard of care for the children here and we have always achieved that.”

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Childcare worker was unfairly dismissed
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カテゴリー: Childcare   パーマリンク

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