Former Wellington city councillor Rob Goulden has been granted his hospital job back after being suspended in the wake of several complaints from co-workers about his behaviour.
Goulden, who also stood for mayor at the last election, is employed as a security orderly at Wellington Hospital but has been suspended on full pay since late last year, pending an employment investigation.
He took his case to the Employment Relations Authority, raising concerns about the suspension along with several other matters, including the failure of the Capital & Coast District Health Board to investigate his concerns about staff, and health and safety matters.
Authority member Greg Wood said in his decision that Goulden took his health and safety responsibilities seriously and in 2012 raised several matters including staff and visitors not wearing safety gear, damaged electrical equipment, and soiled linen not being properly disposed of.
Last year, after an assault by a mental health patient, Goulden raised concerns about orderlies not being given sufficient information about patients who could be violent. He was also worried about orderlies not being fully informed when coming into contact with infectious patients.
After several unproductive meetings, Goulden lodged a personal grievance, but soon after was banned from working in the emergency department when nursing staff raised concerns about his behaviour.
This angered Goulden, who enjoyed working in the department, and he sought to have the ban lifted. The security manager refused to do this until the matter had been investigated.
In a meeting to discuss the matter, it was alleged Goulden acted threateningly and refused to leave the manager's office. Goulden denied this.
Soon after, another complaint was made by a female staff member, who said his behaviour had left her too stressed to attend work. He was subsequently suspended.
While Wood dismissed several of Goulden's claims, he found that Capital & Coast had failed to address some of the valid health and safety concerns he had raised.
Goulden was to be reinstated from suspension on pay because he was not given a meeting before his suspension and because it had dragged on for such a long time.
Wood ordered Capital & Coast to reinstate Goulden to his job within 14 days and pay him $1000 compensation.
Goulden told The Dominion Post he was happy with aspects of the decision but declined to comment further. Capital & Coast also declined to comment.
Goulden, a former policeman and territorial soldier, spent 12 years on the city council. He made headlines for foul-mouthed outbursts and was once removed from a council meeting by police.
- The Dominion Post
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