Partially-sighted hospital worker given go-ahead to pursue unfair dismissal claim (From Stourbridge News)
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Partially-sighted hospital worker given go-ahead to pursue unfair dismissal claim
2:15pm Tuesday 7th January 2014 in News
A PARTIALLY-BLIND Stourbridge clinical support worker complained he was unfairly sacked by the Dudley Group of Hospitals after making whistle-blowing allegations about the affects of chemical fumes from a de-contamination unit where he worked.
Alan Chalk, of Drew Crescent, Pedmore, raised health and safety questions after alleging the chemical fumes irritated his eyes and caused a scabby nose and skin problems.
Mr Chalk, who had worked for the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust for 29 years with a good work record, was seeking Birmingham Employment Tribunal approval at a preliminary hearing to go ahead with compensation claims for disability discrimination for making whistle-blowing disclosures and compensation for unfair dismissal against the Trust at a full tribunal hearing later this year.
Vanessa Chalk, representing her husband, said Mr Chalk had been partially-sighted in one eye since birth.
She said part of her husband’s job was working in the group’s de-contamination unit.
But she alleged he lost his job after making public disclosures that chemical fumes from the unit’s machines had caused irritation to her husband’s eyes, nose and skin.
“Others had also complained about skin problems,” she alleged.
She said her husband had been referred by occupational health elsewhere and complained no-one had wanted to take responsibility. She alleged a doctor had failed to examine him.
Mr Chalk accused the Trust of failing to make adjustments to help him work with his disability.
The tribunal was told he had been off work for six months but Mrs Chalk said her husband loved his job and wanted to get back to work as soon as possible after being declared fit.
The Trust denied Mr Chalk’s allegations about the chemical fumes and said there had been no direct contact because health and safety regulations had been fully installed.
The Trust also denied other people had suffered skin problems and said the allegations had been “mere hearsay".
Tribunal judge Ron Rushton was asked by the Trust to strike out Mr Chalk’s compensation claims “because they had little or no prospect of succeeding.”
But Rushton told Mr Chalk he could go ahead with his claims at a full tribunal hearing.