‘It has been absolutely dreadful’ - Great Yarmouth carer speaks about year-long legal battle after being sacked for whistleblowing
A carer has today spoken about her 'dreadful' year-long battle for justice after she was sacked for whistleblowing.
Amanda Morling was dismissed by Hilton Community Services last year following a disclosure about the alleged treatment of a vulnerable resident.
The 53-year-old, who has more than 30 years of experience, had been working at the company's supported accommodation in Winterton, near Great Yarmouth, at the time.
But after she reported her concerns to Norfolk County Council's safeguarding team, Mrs Morling, from Great Yarmouth, was dismissed for gross misconduct.
Following a 12-month legal battle to clear her name, an employment tribunal has now concluded that she lost her job for blowing the whistle.
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The individual accused of abusing the resident was dismissed from their job but was cleared of all charges following a trial at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court in July this year.
Mrs Morling, a mother-of-four, said the lack of support over the past year had left her on the edge of a nervous breakdown at times.
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'There are no words to describe how this last year has been,' she said. 'There has been no emotional support, your colleagues can't talk to you and you just become isolated. It has been absolutely dreadful. When you have 30 years worth of experience, with no negatives against your name, to then have gross misconduct put against you is devastating.'
Mrs Morling said she had spent more than £2,000 on legal fees and even had to sell the family's three chihuahuas to help finance her case.
The tribunal judgment, which was published at the end of last month, found that:
The disclosure made by Mrs Morling was in the public interest and was not for personal gain.
Mrs Morling did 'reasonably believe' that Hilton had a history of ignoring concerns and treating staff detrimentally who blew the whistle.
Hilton's policies did not permit anonymous disclosures.
Mrs Morling believed she would suffer detrimentally if she raised the matter internally.
An operations manager reacted angrily when reminding staff they must not report externally.
Mrs Morling was dismissed for making a protected qualifying disclosure.
The tribunal papers referred to an incident at Hilton's Woodstock service, on Back Path, which provides full-time care to three vulnerable adults. On May 10 last year, Mrs Morling was informed about an alleged incident against one of the residents by another member of staff.
Hilton's safeguarding policy states that staff must raise any concerns with a manager if they suspect abuse.
But after hearing previous complainants had been accused of a 'witch hunt' against the accused, Mrs Morling made an external disclosure. It resulted in a police investigation and the dismissal of the staff member accused of abuse.
Mrs Morling was called in for a disciplinary hearing by Hilton, and on July 14 she received confirmation she had been dismissed for gross misconduct.
Hilton did not respond to requests for comment.
Mrs Morling said she had yet to reach a settlement with Hilton following the tribunal ruling.
Do you have concerns about the organisation you work for and wish to disclose them anonymously? Call Luke Powell on 01603 772684.