Treatment Of Elderly Nurse Was Heartless And Shabby, Says Workplace Regulator

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7th February 2010, 12:00pm - Views: 691

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Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94 

Media Release


7 Feb 2010

Treatment of elderly nurse was heartless and

shabby, says workplace regulator

The Fair Work Ombudsman has issued a stern warning to a Melbourne nursing home over

what it describes as heartless and shabby treatment of a long-serving elderly employee.

The workplace regulator has put the company on notice that it will be closely monitoring its

compliance with workplace law after an incident involving a 74-year-old nurse returning to

duties after suffering a workplace injury.

The nurse - a long-time widow who worked the night shift from 10pm to 7am caring for

aged-care patients - tripped, fell and broke her hip at work and spent seven months at

home recuperating.

When the woman, who had worked at the nursing home for 26 years, returned to work,

she was allegedly told by its new owners after just two shifts “not to come back”.

The nurse did not believe she had received her full entitlements on termination and

complained to the Fair Work Ombudsman.

When a Fair Work inspector first contacted the nursing home, it initially denied that the

complainant had been employed there.

However, after demanding to see employment records, inspectors subsequently found the

nurse had been underpaid annual leave and long-service leave entitlements and for some

hours worked.

As a result of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s intervention, the company has now reimbursed

the nurse almost $30,000.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive-Director Michael Campbell says it is pleasing that the

woman has since found alternative employment at another nursing home where she is

working five night shifts a fortnight.

“While this matter has a happy outcome for the employee involved, we are shocked by the

behaviour of this employer towards a loyal and long-serving employee,” Mr Campbell said.

“The community expects employers to treat their staff with respect and dignity,

particularly someone who has devoted so much of her life to caring for the frail-aged.

“How would you feel if this was your mother or grandmother?”

Mr Campbell said the employer, which ran more than one nursing home, should consider

itself lucky to escape prosecution.

“We felt that this woman had been through enough trauma and putting her through the

further ordeal of a court case was additional stress she could well do without,” he said.  

Employers or employees seeking assistance from the Fair Work Ombudsman should

contact 13 13 94 from 8am-6pm weekdays or visit

Media inquiries: 

Craig Bildstien, 0419 818 484; Ryan Pedler, 0434 365 924.

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