Rehab worker failed to monitor homecare, tribunal hears

Sylvia Ozurumba McJyn accused of mismanaging home visits for the disabled

 Sylvia Ozurumba McJyn’s legal team, Gabriel Reynold and Ashimedua Okonkwo, outside the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Sylvia Ozurumba McJyn’s legal team, Gabriel Reynold and Ashimedua Okonkwo, outside the Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

A RehabCare worker failed to properly monitor a system designed to ensure people with disabilities received home visits, the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has heard.

Sylvia Ozurumba McJyn, who was employed by RehabCare between 2005 and 2015, was given ample support to achieve a five-year performance improvement plan (PIP) through meetings with management but was ultimately dismissed, the organisation claimed.

Ms McJyn, from Belcamp Lane, Malahide Road, Dublin, is pursuing an unfair dismissal case against the organisation.

Her solicitor, Ashimedua Okonkwo, said the meetings had been adversarial in nature.

“She came out of these meetings feeling belittled and harassed,” Ms Okonkwo said.

RehabCare delivers all-day home assistance services to children and older people.

Ms McJyn began at RehabCare as a home support worker and was later promoted to team leader, with responsibility for monitoring the out-of-hours dispatch of home visits.

However, according to Rehab management, concerns arose with her performance in 2009, when RehabCare changed from a paper-based administrative system to an electronic database which monitored every aspect of the service.

Managing the database from a laptop at her home, Ms McJyn’s role included fielding calls from both workers and clients and ensuring the service was functioning generally.

Outlining its defence at a hearing on Tuesday, Rehab said Ms McJyn began to “miss” things in relation to the logging of visits by care staff to clients, while failing to accurately record other information.

There were “recurring problems”, her former manager, Nicky Scudds, said.

Inadequate recording and verification of meetings also had an impact on payroll issues, the tribunal heard.

RehabCare clients

In many cases, RehabCare clients require help getting in and out of bed, the tribunal was told.

In one instance attributed to Ms McJyn, visits were missed to a young man with MS who needed help getting up and ready for work.

The tribunal heard it was part of Ms McJyn’s role to both set up and monitor these house calls, of which there could be up to 180 on a Saturday and between 80 and 100 on a Sunday.

There were a total of 32 PIP meetings with Ms McJyn. Rehab maintained these were conducted in an attempt to identify shortcomings in her performance andto resolve issues.

“I think we really tried very hard to try and support Sylvia as much as possible. We were there to try and get improvements,” said Ms Scudds.

During cross-examination, Ms Okonkwo said the ongoing meetings had not been about performance improvement but had been adversarial.

She said her client had been told during the meetings that she could lose her job.

She said Ms McJyn will argue that she was “purposefully pushed out of her employment” and that she had suffered from work-related stress as a result of the experience.

The hearing is due to continue in October, at which time Ms McJyn is expected to give evidence.