WORKFORCE: The foundation spent £86,000 contesting an employment tribunal which awarded a former manager around £1m for race discrimination and unfair dismissal, HSJ has learned.
CMFT corporate and human resources director Derek Welsh told HSJ the foundation had spent £71,801 contesting the original tribunal over its treatment of former divisional director Eliot Browne. It spent a further £13,701 on an appeal against the tribunal’s findings in Mr Browne’s favour, which it also lost.
Mr Browne, who had worked in the NHS for more than three decades, was awarded around £1m after the first tribunal found he had been subjected to discrimination from March 2007 until his dismissal the following May.
Mr Welsh said that the foundation had engaged a Manchester-based consultancy firm experienced in equality and diversity work to “look at our equality and diversity strategies, and also how we implement them”. The firm will provide an interim report to the foundation’s board in the summer.
He added that CMFT had also taken “immediate steps to work with a legal team – which wasn’t involved in the hearing – to work through our policies and the interrelation between them”.
He added: “We have also embarked on an extensive training programme, which the board has gone through, and which we’re putting other managers through [now]”.
The tribunal was heavily critical of Mr Welsh, and of the foundation’s chief nurse Gill Heaton. It found that Ms Heaton created an “intimidating” environment for Mr Browne, by repeatedly telling him his job was at risk “with complete disregard for the trust’s capability procedure” and “little regard to the effect her intimidatory comments were having”. And it found that Mr Welsh had conducted no investigation into figures which suggested black employees of the trust were many times more likely to be dismissed than their white colleagues.
Mr Welsh declined to comment on whether he or Ms Heaton had faced disciplinary action or other repercussions as a result of the tribunal’s findings.