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  1. ITV Report

Charity criticised after losing unfair dismissal case

Jacqui Comber Photo:

The former chief executive of Bury Hospice has criticised the charity after winning an unfair dismissal case.

Jacqui Comber, who was sacked last year , is in line for a payout of up to £72,000 after the tribunal ruling last week.

Now she has launched a stinging attack on the Board of Trustees at the hospice – who suspended and then dismissed her without going through a disciplinary hearing.

The employment tribunal heard trustees were concerned about the manager’s ability to lead the trust, but no formal process took place to remove her from her post.

In a statement issued by solicitors firm MSB, Mrs Comber said:

I am delighted that the tribunal has found in my favour and concluded that I was unfairly dismissed.

In particular, the failure of the trustees to treat me fairly, with dignity and with respect was specifically highlighted by the judge who said ‘I think it reasonable to conclude that whatever the claimant might have said at any disciplinary hearing, she would have been dismissed by the trustees, who had made up their minds that the claimant had to go regardless of the rights or wrongs of her conduct’.

– Jacqui Comber

Mrs Comber said she was particularly saddened by reports in the tribunal about her behaviour, which she claims were untrue, adding:

It is important that the people of Bury know the full facts and truth of this matter.

Bury Hospice undertook a public campaign against me.

The picture which has emerged from the tribunal is one of the trustees blaming me for all of the problems of Bury Hospice when in fact it was the trustees’ decisions to enter into significant financial commitments which placed unacceptable financial pressures on Bury Hospice, leading to a reduction of services.

– Jacqui Comber

Mrs Comber was sacked in March last year after a report claimed there were ‘significant’ failures in leadership and allegations of bullying. But she sued for unfair dismissal, and last month an employment tribunal ruled in her favour.

A spokesman for Bury Hospice told the Manchester Evening News after the tribunal:

The Trustees acted in the best interests of Bury Hospice by taking decisive action.

All the costs of this case have been covered by Bury Hospice’s insurance and therefore no monies have been taken from the hospice’s fundraising activities.

– Spokesman for Bury