Derbyshire housekeeper awarded nearly £10,000 following “prostitute” slur

A Derbyshire care home worker who told a colleague who was putting red lipstick on that “prostitutes wear it” has been awarded nearly £10,000 for constructive dismissal.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 1:58 pm

Sally Greatorex resigned while bosses at Matlock’s Presentation Sisters Care Centre investigated a complaint by the “humiliated” member of staff.

An employment tribunal heard on June 28 last year Greatorex told fellow housekeeper Melanie Marsden “you know what they say about red lipstick” before making a comment about prostitutes.

Ms Marsden described being “verbally abused”, “insulted” and asked “very personal questions meant to humiliate”.

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Sally Greatorex resigned while bosses at Matlock’s Presentation Sisters Care Centre investigated a complaint by the “humiliated” member of staff

While experiencing menopause symptoms she said colleagues had made “unkind and hurtful remarks” and innuendos about her age and appearance.

The tribunal heard during the embarrassing incident Greatorex also tried to lift up the corner of Ms Marsden dress as “a bit of fun”.

Judge Ijeoma Omambala QC heard evidence from work colleagues that Greatorex “takes banter too far on occasions’’ and “had no filter.”

However Judge Judge Omambala found investigating manager Ms Carnall breached disciplinary proceedings at the home - having admitted “determination” that Greatorex was guilty of gross misconduct before she was given an opportunity to state her case.

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Concluding that Greatorex was constructively and unfairly dismissed, the judge noted that Mrs Carnall had decided she was guilty of gross misconduct, having spoken to Mrs Marsden and other employees without allowing the worker the opportunity to state her case.

Neither was Greatorex informed that she would not be interviewed and that her case would proceed straight to a disciplinary hearing.

Greatorex began working at Presentation Sisters aged 16 in 1995 and had worked at the home for 26 years.

She was described by her employer as an “extremely reliable employee” with a very good understanding of all aspects of housekeeping

Addressing Greatorex’s behaviour and allegations made against her, the judge said: ”I find that the Claimant did lift up Mrs Marsden’s dress.

“I find that Mrs Marsden was upset, humiliated and offended by the claimant’s actions and did not see them as a joke.

“I find that the Claimant did not call Mrs Marsden a prostitute although that is how Mrs Marsden interpreted her comment.

“I accept that the Claimant made her comment in an ill-judged attempt at humour. Mrs Marsden did not find her comment funny and was upset and offended by it.”

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