April 25, 2007

Suspension not always a neutral act

Mezey v South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust (CA)

The use of an injunction to prevent an employer from suspending an employee was upheld recently in the Court of Appeal.

A consultant psychiatrist was subject to an internal disciplinary process. She voluntarily agreed not to undertake any clinical duties whilst the process was ongoing. Despite this, her employer suspended her. She argued that her professional reputation was being damaged unnecessarily and successfully obtained an injunction stopping the suspension.

It was found that in this case suspension was not a neutral act as it cast an inevitable public doubt over the employee's competency. Any eventual damages would not be sufficient to compensate for any loss of reputation.

In appropriate circumstances suspension will be the right course of action. But employers must carefully consider the use of suspension in each case.

From: Employment Bulletin, http://www.vwl.co.uk

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting that St. George's NHS Mental Health Trust is involved. Seems like their tactics are awefully similar to the tactics used by Kingston University, who validates St. George's medical training programmes. Could there be some untoward communication going on between the folks at St. George's and the folks at Kingston. Has anyone checked out the makeup of the Board of Governors at Kingston? Looks quite interesting don't you think?

Gren Collings is associate director of Kingston Hospital NHS Trust and strategic property advisor to the South West London and St George’s NHS Trust. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Before his current post, Gren had a long career in the Post Office, culminating in the role of managing director of Royal Mail Property Holdings.

Gren is chair of the Board of Governors, chair of the Nominations and Remuneration Committees and ex-officio member of the Employment, Estates and Finance Committees

Michael Farthing is the principal of St George’s, University of London. Previous posts include executive dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Glasgow and dean of the Faculty of Medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College.

Michael is a member of the General Medical Council Education Committee and chair of the GMC Education Committee Research Board. He is currently also a non-executive director of the South West London Strategic Health Authority.

He was previously a non-executive director of East London and City Health Authority and Greater Glasgow NHS Board. Michael is honorary consultant in Gastroenterology to the Army, a member of the United European Gastroenterology Federation and chair of the Scientific Committee.

Christine Swabey, a former banker and a qualified barrister, is chair of the Kingston Hospital NHS Trust.

Christine is also a former non-executive director of the South West London and St George's Hospital Mental Health NHS Trust. She is the former vice-president of the Scandinavian division and senior director of the emerging markets group at the Continental Bank in London.

She has also held positions on a number of charity boards, including the Refugee Legal Centre, and is a trustee of the Treehouse Trust (an educational charity for children with autism).

Christine is chair of the Employment Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Colin Watts is an external member of the London Borough of Wandsworth Standards Committee. He is also the former director of human resources and former director of organisation development at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust.

Colin is a member of the NHS Service Delivery and Organisation National Research and Development Programme Board. He is a former member of the South West London Workforce and Development Board, which had an overview of contracts for nursing, midwifery and PAMs (professions allied to medicine).

He also previously served as chair of the South Thames College Board, and as director and personnel manager of Wandsworth Health Authority. Colin belongs to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Colin is a member of the Employment Committee.