Nurse, 57, wins £21,000 unfair dismissal payout from Nuffield Health after she was fired for complaining about the lack of PPE, but tribunal dismisses her claims she was treated as a ‘black slave’
- Rosaline Caesar-Scammell moaned in first lockdown PPE shortage was ‘scary’
- The message also noted the number of staff who were off work with the disease
- This left what she said was just a ‘handful’ of medics ‘holding the fort’
- She was investigated by bosses at Nuffield’s hospital and then eventually fired
- Employment tribunal found Miss Caesar-Scammell was wrongfully dismissed
- It concluded she would likely have been sacked anyway and reduced compensation
A senior nurse has today won more than £21,000 from a private healthcare company after she was fired for sending a message to colleagues complaining about the lack of PPE.
Rosaline Caesar-Scammell moaned during the first lockdown that the protective equipment shortage was ‘scary’.
The message also noted the number of staff who were off work with the disease leaving what she said was just a ‘handful’ of medics ‘holding the fort’.
She was investigated by bosses at Nuffield’s hospital in Bournemouth, Dorset, and eventually fired.
Former Rotary Club president Rosaline Caesar-Scammell moaned during the first covid pandemic lockdown that the protective equipment shortage was ‘scary’
But an employment tribunal today found that Miss Caesar-Scammell was wrongfully dismissed, because the investigation had not been properly conducted.
However, it concluded that she would likely have been sacked anyway and reduced her compensation from more than £55,000 to £21,492 instead.
Miss Caesar-Scammell had also alleged that she had been the victim of racial discrimination, describing herself as a ‘black slave’ among ‘white goddesses’.
But the tribunal, held in Southampton, Hants, dismissed those claims.
The three day hearing had been told Miss Caesar-Scammell – who is of Caribbean descent – first began working for Nuffield Health in 1999.
She had worked her way up to the position of ward sister when the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
On April 8, weeks after a nationwide lockdown was introduced in the UK, Miss Caesar-Scammell began her shift at 7am.
She told the tribunal she had left her phone – which was not locked or password protected – unattended on the nurses desk during her shift.
Later that day a message was sent from her phone to the 32 members of the group, saying: ‘Here at work doing a 15x hr shift. Ran out of protective clothing again.
Miss Caesar-Scammell had also alleged that she had been the victim of racial discrimination, describing herself as a ‘black slave’ among ‘white goddesses’. But the tribunal, held in Southampton, Hants, dismissed those claims
‘All a bit scary as non [sic] of the patients here has been tested x 2 of the Consysnts [sic] are off with Covid and 10 nurses from my Dept either with Covid or isolating so just a handful of us holding the fort.’
Miss Caesar-Scammell insisted she didn’t send the message herself, and later messaged the group to say it was a ‘hoax’.
But she was suspended and, following two further investigation meetings and a final disciplinary meeting, was sacked by Nuffield Health for gross misconduct.
The health group said the ‘inaccurate’ message had caused ‘deep concern’ to colleagues.
She took Nuffield to an employment tribunal claiming that she had been unfairly dismissed.
Miss Caesar-Scammell – who was the only black nurse at Nuffield’s hospital in Bournemouth, Dorset – also told the tribunal that as the only black nurse she was ‘ostracised’ and racially abused by some colleagues throughout her 21-year employment at the hospital.
She was investigated by bosses at Nuffield’s hospital in Bournemouth, Dorset, and eventually fired. The three day hearing had been told Miss Caesar-Scammell – who is of Caribbean descent – first began working for Nuffield Health in 1999
The tribunal rejected her race claims and also concluded that on the balance of probabilities, it was likely that Miss Caesar-Scammell did send or forward the message to the group.
However, it concluded that hospital outpatient manager Lorraine Hampton had conducted a prejudiced investigation.
Employment Judge James Dawson concluded: ‘The reason for Miss Caesar-Scammell’s dismissal was misconduct and there were reasonable grounds for that belief.
‘However, we do not find that the investigation was reasonable.
‘Ms Hampton had a mindset of seeking to discover facts that would incriminate Miss Caesar-Scammell.
‘We do not find that Ms Hampton was biased but she lost sight of the fact that she was supposed to be a neutral investigator.
‘We conclude that there was a 75% chance that the claimant would have been dismissed (if the investigation had been conducted differently) because there were other WhatsApp messages that were similar.
‘The compensation awarded has therefore been reduced by 75%.
‘It was wrong for Miss Caesar-Scammell to deal with the messages in the way that she did.’
In dismissing Miss Caesar-Scammell’s race victimisation claims the judge said: ‘There is no evidence that a white person would have been treated in any different way.’
A Nuffield Health spokesperson said: ‘Nuffield Health welcomes that the tribunal found that all allegations of discrimination made by the claimant were dismissed. Nuffield Health has zero tolerance for any form discrimination and the welfare of our people is of utmost importance. We’re disappointed that even though the judge found the claimant contributed to their dismissal by 50%, that the tribunal found them to be unfairly dismissed.’