Agency worker's Preston care centre assault claim dismissed by tribunal judge

Sue Ryder - Cuerden Hall
Sue Ryder - Cuerden Hall

An agency cleaner who made allegations he had been sexually assaulted while working at a charitable neurological care centre has had his claims dismissed by an employment tribunal.

The man made allegations against a member of staff at Sue Ryder Cuerden Hall, on Shady Lane in Bamber Bridge in 2016. He took his claims to an employment tribunal after he was sacked.

The centre cares for adults who have conditions affecting the brain and nervous system.

The man claimed he was sexually assaulted by a male care worker in a corridor at the hall and reported the incident to the police and to the hall’s management.

He also alleged the care worker had behaved in an “inappropriate fashion” towards an administration worker.

The cleaner said he had made whistle blowing allegations about the employee’s actions among residents and staff at the centre.

An anonymous latter sent to management, but aimed at the care worker, said: “Stop it. Sexual innuendos or pervert acts in public or elsewhere will lead to your employer and the police getting involved. It is your choice. Trouble is what you will get if you continue.”

He was later sacked but Sue Ryder bosses said the man’s engagement had been terminated because they were not satisfied with the quality of his work.

Judge Ross rejected the man’s claims at a Manchester Employment Tribunal. The judge said he was satisfied that bosses at the centre had acted appropriately in dealing with the sexual allegations and that they had treated him with respect. He added the tribunal’s decision was that the worker’s public disclosures were not the reason for the termination of his engagement.

Speaking after the hearing, Terry Mears, a director at Sue Ryder, said: “In October 2016 an agency domestic worker made an allegation of sexual assault against an employee. We suspended the employee immediately as a precaution pending a full and independent investigation. We also alerted the police at this point, who also conducted a full investigation. The results found no case to answer and entirely exonerated our employee, who was promptly reinstated.

“We subsequently found it necessary to terminate the agency worker’s assignment, due to the poor quality of his work and the fact that he was found to have lied to his supervisor at the care centre.

“The agency worker decided to make an employment tribunal claim against the charity. The tribunal dismissed his claims and found Sue Ryder to have acted entirely reasonably and appropriately throughout.”