Fired rest home boss's case dismissed

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 13:55 11/12/2012

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A rest home manager who allegedly shook a resident, physically forced another to take medicine and told residents they were ''animals'' has failed in a bid for compensation.

An Employment Relations Authority (ERA) decision has dismissed the case of Margot Gazeley, a facility manager fired from her job last year amid allegations of ''physical and mental mistreatment''.

She claimed she was unjustifiably dismissed and asked to be awarded penalties.

Gazeley had worked as the facility manager at the Woodlands residential care facility in Motueka since 2009.

As the most senior manager she oversaw the 62-bed facility, which had a rest home, retirement village and hospital, owned by the Oceania Group.

Last June, the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board carried out a spot audit at Woodlands while Gazeley was on annual leave.

Staff, and residents and their family members, told the board that Gazeley was ''abusive and a bully''.

They said she had shaken a resident, forced antibiotics into a resident by restraining her and told residents they were "animals" and ''would be given Jellimeat for dinner''.

In another incident, she was alleged to have told a resident's family there was no room for them at the Christmas dinner, but when they called later they were told there were two empty seats beside their family member.

The board was told that complaints in the suggestion box had been removed and people were ''intimidated'' and ''scared'' by Gazeley.

After the visit, the board appointed a temporary manager and involved the police in the investigations.

When Gazeley returned to work she was suspended.

Gazeley said her suspension was unjustifiable as she was not consulted or given the chance to tell her side of the story.

She told the ERA she was ''shocked'' to read the evidence and did not accept any of the allegations as true.

ERA member Alistair Dumbleton dismissed Gazeley's case, saying she did not have a personal grievance as her dismissal was justified.

''Whatever she might have been able to say in opposition to that course being taken is likely to have made no difference to the outcome of consultation.''

He said her dismissal was ''an action that a fair and reasonable employer could have decided upon in all circumstances".

Gazeley's calls for penalties, including "special damages" of $19,204, were also dismissed.

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- The Press

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