An industrial tribunal has upheld a claim from a former support worker at Parkanaur College that she was unfairly dismissed from her role.
The tribunal was asked to consider whether the woman had been constructively dismissed when she resigned in December 2014 following two incidents of assault on her by a resident and following an unsuccessful outcome to her grievance in respect of the assaults.
Parkanaur College provides training courses and residential accommodation for young people with learning and physical difficulties and disabilities.
Central to the hearing were incidents in October 2013 and June 2014, during which the support worker was injured by a resident who was said to have “particularly challenging behaviour” and suffered from autism, learning difficulties and profound deafness.
Further evidence opened to the tribunal was that, some weeks after the October 2013 incident - which resulted in the woman’s finger being broken - two other staff members showed their colleague drawings made by the resident which “depicted him shooting a person” with the same name as the support worker in question.
The second assault took place on June 26, 2014, shortly after which the woman submitted a formal grievance, in which she noted that “no updated risk assessment had been put in place after the first assault”.
The hearing was further told: “She noted that she did not feel that she could be expected to return to work until this serious threat to her physical wellbeing was dealt with.”
In a statement to the TIMES, a spokesperson for Parkanaur College, which was ordered by the tribunal judges to pay compensation of almost £5,000 to the former employee, said: “The College takes its responsibilities with regard to health and safety, risk assessments, care quality and staff training and welfare very seriously. As with care facilities, we engage closely with our regulatory authorities to ensure that standards are always maintained at a high level and any proposals they may make for changes or improvements to the fabric or procedures within the College are welcomed and acted upon.
“The College is now considering whether or not some statements included in the report are correct, substantiated and deflationary in order that justice for the College is obtained. In follow up the College will have to weigh up the merits of Justice v Costs that may well result in a decision being taken on Economic terms rather than on a potential Justifiable basis.”