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Stafford man sacked from charity near Stone after 'clipping' broom attacker

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: May 22, 2014

By Newsletter reporter

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A STAFFORD man who worked with people with learning difficulties was dismissed after “clipping” a male client who had twice struck him with a broom.

John Wainwright, of Kingsley Close, told Birmingham Employment Tribunal he had responded in self defence and had told him not to hit him again.

Cross-examined at the tribunal Mr Wainwright agreed his action had been justified and that he had dealt with the matter appropriately.

“It was only a clip – I had to defend myself from further harm,” he said.

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Mr Wainwright was making a legal claim for unfair dismissal against former employers Oak Tree Farm Rural Project, a charity of Hilderstone, Near Stone.

The firm, which opposed his legal claim, said Mr Wainwright had failed to follow employment procedure by not retaliating and that he should have left the room as soon as he had been struck.

The firm agreed Mr Wainwright faced “challenging behaviour” from some of the clients and that the man he “clipped” could be violent.

But the respondents referred to the firm’s policy of showing no physical response.

David Folkes, one of the firm’s trustees, said:”I am not sure what happened in the room and the situation may have been elaborated, but I still believe he (Mr Wainwright)

acted inappropriately.”

Mr Wainwright who had been employed for more than five years, was dismissed for gross misconduct.

Mr Wainwright accused the respondents of not carrying out a full and proper investigation into the situation and alleged one of the members of the investigating panel had been biased.

He also claimed he had not been fully trained in handling such situations.

Tribunal judge Rohan Pirani said the firm had told the tribunal that physical intervention should not have been used and that Mr Wainwright should have immediately left the room.

Mr Pirani said the respondents dealt with vulnerable people and although he could understand Mr Wainwright’s attitude in some ways, he still should have walked away.

As a result Mr Pirani rejected Mr Wainwright’s legal claim for unfair dismissal.

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