A former Spotless Facility Services worker from Timaru Hospital in New Zealand has been awarded $15,000 in compensation after the company failed to protect her from workplace bullying.
According to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA), former Spotless hospital kitchen worker Anne MacKay resigned while on sick leave in August 2014 because ‘Spotless failed to investigate a joint complaint other workers were preparing against her and because of her fears of workplace bullying’.
‘In a newly-released determination made on April 26, ERA member David Appleton says a senior Spotless manager committed a serious failing in his duty when he told MacKay he knew nothing of the joint complaint and failed to promise an investigation’.
MacKay made a complaint to Spotless site manager Gwenda Norton about Ms X, who she claimed “treated her like a child”. ‘Another Spotless worker is seeking compensation for bullying by Ms X’.
MacKay alleges that ‘Norton told her to “get over it” because Ms X was “going nowhere”.’
MacKay also claims that Ms Y ‘blamed her for failing to remove cheesecake toppings for some patients’.
On June 18, MacKay sent a four-page letter to Spotless which detailed her concerns. ‘Spotless also received letters from other staff making allegations against MacKay, including that she described Ms X and Ms Y in insulting terms to a new staff member’.
While MacKay was on sick leave, an investigation into those allegations and MacKay’s complaint took place without her knowledge. MacKay also learnt of a joint complaint others were signing while she was away.
Appleton called Spotless’ actions “a fundamental breach of her (MacKay’s) contract” and ‘awarded MacKay $8001.70 for lost wages and $7500 for humiliation, loss of dignity, and injury to her feelings’.