- Consultant barred from returning to trust after allegations of sexual harassment
- Tribunal rules although he was unfairly dimissed, it would be impractical for him to return to the hospital trust
- Trust must pay £74,000 in compensation
A hospital consultant has been barred from returning to work at his trust over claims of sexual harassment, despite winning his claim for unfair dismissal.
The surgeon, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will be paid £74,000 in compensation by a Yorkshire hospital trust but cannot return to work there, after several colleagues complained about his conduct.
An employment tribunal ruled that despite an earlier judgment ordering his reinstatement, it would be impractical to re-employ him after a group of staff said they would refuse to work with him.
The medic was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct in 2014; however, on a finding of fact, an earlier tribunal ruled he had not sexually harassed one particular colleague.
Other colleagues gave evidence in the trust’s appeal against the reinstatement order and the judgment, published this week.
The tribunal heard evidence that some staff did not make complaints because they thought their status relative to a powerful consultant meant they would not be believed.
The tribunal judgment quoted the trust’s representative in the case who said: “There is a wealth of evidence to support [the] reasons for the staff not wanting to work with the claimant. He sexually assaulted and acted wholly inappropriately towards F, [J], G, P, N, O and M.”
It also said: “The claimant refuted that the junior staff live in fear of the consultant[s]. The claimant said the reverse was the case. He said that the consultants live in fear of the nurses and that ‘everyone gangs up’.”
The judges found the claimant “sought to discredit [one witness] upon several grounds” but there was “little merit in [his claims].”
In refusing his application to return to the trust, the judgment said: “The tribunal therefore wishes to make it clear in these reasons that we make no findings one way or the other about the incidents relayed to us by the respondent’s witnesses.
“It is sufficient, in our judgment, for us to find that there was a sufficient groundswell of genuinely held concerns upon the part of female junior staff as to present a practical bar from the respondent’s perspective to the employment of the claimant.”
At the time of publication, the trust had not confirmed whether it had referred the doctor to the General Medical Council or other professional body, and had made no comment.
The status of a complaint about the medic to the police is also unknown.
A tribunal in 2015 ruled that he had been wrongfully and unfairly dismissed but did not uphold his whistleblowing complaint.