Care assistant fired after allegedly stealing a mug

A Cork nursing home, which closed earlier this year, has been sharply criticised by the Employment Appeals Tribunal for its bullying of a worker who was fired after allegedly stealing a mug.

The tribunal said Upton House Nursing Home in Innishannon had treated care assistant Ina Kiely dreadfully over the manner in which it maligned her character.

The tribunal awarded Ms Kiely €15,000 compensation after ruling she was unfairly sacked by the nursing home, adding that she had played no role in her dismissal.

Ms Kiely of Leighmoney, Dunderrow, Kinsale, claimed she was fired for allegedly stealing a mug without any fair procedures. She described her dismissal as “humiliating and disproportionate”.

In evidence, she explained she had used another mug in the nursing home for tea as her own had cracked. However, she was accused of robbing the mug and warned she should resign or the police would be notified.

Gardaí were called to the nursing home after Ms Kiely refused to resign. No criminal prosecution resulted from the allegation of theft against her.

Ms Kiely told the tribunal she never received a contract or information about the nursing home’s disciplinary procedures.

Its matron informed her there were three witnesses to the alleged theft of the mug but Ms Kiely said she could not find out their identity.

No representative of the nursing home attended the tribunal hearing in Cork last September.

Upton House had been the subject of a number of critical inspection reports by the Health Information and Quality Authority.

Hiqa officials were informed during an inspection on Jan 17 last that the facility was being shut and it formally closed its doors the following week.

The owners of the nursing home were Michael Healy, Geat na Mona, Passage West; Aiden O’Donovan, Courtlands, Mayfield; Edward Twohig, Forrest Ridge, Wilton, Pat Healy, Model Cottages, Blarney St; and Michael Monaghan, Barrets Terrace, Blarney St, Cork.

Dilbert — the company which operated Upton House — was dissolved on Apr 19.

More in this section