€32k for social worker who was unfairly dismissed

A tribunal has awarded €32,195 to a social worker after finding he was unfairly dismissed arising from an incident involving a boy with autism at a care home.
€32k for social worker who was unfairly dismissed

Philip Doyle was sacked by the Three Steps organisation arising from the incident involving the 12-year-old at one of the group’s residential homes in April 2014.

Three Steps sacked Mr Doyle after concluding he used “unnecessary and excessive force and unauthorised physical restraints”.

The organisation stated in its dismissal letter to Mr Doyle that the alleged physical harm of a young person in its care gave rise to “an alleged breach of trust and confidence in you in your position of social worker”.

Mr Doyle sued for unfair dismissal and the Employment Appeals Tribunal found the dismissal “to be unfair because he had not acted aggressively but had reacted to the actions of the young person”. It ruled his “reaction was of a manner that was understandable in the circumstances”.

In evidence, the manager of the facility where the boy resided, said that the boy was prone to outbursts.

In relation to April 26, 2014, the manager said the boy told her Mr Doyle had pushed him after the boy had hit him. The boy had spent a night with his family after the incident and his mother told a staff member that her son was apprehensive about returning to the facility because of what happened between Mr Doyle and her son.

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