Breckland councillor to pay more than �800 following tribunal

A row has broken out between a Breckland councillor and a former employee after the politician was ordered to pay more than �800 following an employment tribunal.

Mark Robinson, who represents Thetford's Saxon Ward, was taken to tribunal by Rebecca Curtis, 20, a cleaner for his business, Dusty SpringClean Ltd.

Miss Curtis, who lives with her mother on Mingay Road, Thetford, claimed that a two-month delay in holding a 'back-to-work' meeting following an accident had cost her hundreds of pounds.

She alleged that despite contacting Mr Robinson numerous times to arrange the meeting she was never able to confirm a time.

'I was getting really stressed and it meant I had no money at Christmas and had to cancel my phone contract,' she said. 'I couldn't really do Christmas because I had to spend my money on food for my animals so nobody got presents.'

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Mr Robinson, however, said he will appeal the ruling and maintains that although he did not hold a meeting, he did give Miss Curtis a date to return to work.

The complaint was made after Miss Curtis suffered a cut to her head while studying at West Suffolk College on September 30 last year.

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After receiving stitches to the wound in hospital, and obtaining a doctor's note, the graphic design student informed Mr Robinson that she would not be able to attend work that evening.

On October 3, she was told she would have to attend a back-to-work meeting, according to Miss Curtis.

However, she says she was unable to make contact with Mr Robinson for more than a month and after visiting the Citizens' Advice Bureau for help,

Miss Curtis raised an official grievance with Mr Robinson, which was sent on November 8 and received by recorded delivery.

She made the official complaint to the tribunal service on December 4, and when the company failed to respond to the allegation in the required 28-day period, Miss Curtis' complaint succeeded.

A hearing scheduled for February 7 was then cancelled.

She added: 'I've had panic attacks since this all started and I'm just relieved to be getting the money.

'It's been quite stressful because I had to get all the paperwork together but I think it's the right thing to have done.'

Mr Robinson now has a deadline of March 13 to pay �855 to Miss Curtis.

He added: 'I will appeal. We had a death in the family and I took my eye off the ball and didn't get the paperwork in on time, which meant they ruled against me.

'If she was that keen to get back to work she could have called the office, or stuck her head in the door but she never bothered.

'We gave her a date to come back to work but she never turned up.'

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