A worker at a Dublin nursing home run by a Christian order was “victimised” by colleagues and management after he reported an allegation of elder abuse, a tribunal has heard.
John Carroll was employed as a driver and maintenance worker in the Kimmage Manor home managed by the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, or the Spiritans as they are more commonly known, when the alleged incident occurred in January 2014.
He made the claim at the Employment Appeals Tribunal during the first hearing of a constructive dismissal case he has taken against his former employer, which is contesting the case.
Mr Carroll claims he was passing through the foyer of the nursing home when he saw an unnamed carer smacking the arms of an elderly male resident and telling him to “turn around, sit down and shut up”.
Mr Carroll said he did not intervene but told members of management what had happened later that day. The home’s physiotherapist also witnessed this behaviour, he alleges.
Under cross-examination from his own legal counsel, Mr Carroll said he heard nothing about the complaint for “a month or two afterwards”, and anytime he made enquiries he was told to “mind your own business”.
Mr Carroll claims that around March 2014 he was approached by the same carer who muttered under his breath “ah there’s the man who’s making false allegations and fabricating stories”. It is also alleged that the carer challenged Mr Carroll to “hit him” with a teacup he was holding at the time.
He claims he was subjected to consistent intimidation and harassment by the carer over the following months, and that co-workers labelled him a “rat” for making the allegation.
Around the same time, Mr Carroll’s line manager stopped answering calls from his number and refused to communicate with him properly.
“He was making it impossible for me to do my job. Everything was grand up until the report [of abuse],” he told the tribunal.
In October 2014, Mr Carroll initiated a formal grievance procedure over his perceived mistreatment by management and colleagues, but was unhappy about the final outcome of the investigation and eventually left his job in May 2015 following a dispute over sick pay.
“I feel victimised,” he said, adding that he was “blackballed” for blowing the whistle over possible abuse. He said he had to attend a number of counselling sessions due to stress.
The case has been adjourned until February 22nd, when it is expected to hear evidence from management of the nursing home.