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93 year old sexually harassed nursing home staffs; Nursing home to pay €150,000 to the staffs

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has ordered the nursing home to pay 1,50,000 in compensation for sexual harassment of three health care assistants.

A 93-year-old inmate of a nursing home sexually assaulted three care workers after he was high on alcohol.

Despite repeated complaints, the nursing home management did not take action and fired the complainants. Health workers approached the commission against this incident.

As per the verdict each care worker will get 50,000 euros, of which 30,000 euros was fined for sexual harassment and 20,000 euros for unnecessary disciplinary action by the nursing home authorities.

WRC Adjudicative Officer Margaret Buckley said care workers were found to be victims of sexual harassment by occupants in the workplace. Buckley said that the workplace for any employee must not be abusive or violent in nature. If the condition is like that, then it will hurt the dignity of employees.

The elderly man involved in the incident is said to be a dementia patient and even though he is having alcohol related problems, he was regular to pubs. He used to hide liquor bottles in his cupboard and underneath the bed.

In addition to the verbal abuse from him, the caretakers also faced sexual harassment. Despite repeated complaints, the nursing home management refused to take action or stop the inmate.

At the commission hearing, the victim and three other colleagues testified to the elderly man’s misbehavior and at the same time, the nursing home adopted a position of assisting and helping the elderly person in commission evidence.

The care home explained that the elderly man was bedridden with dementia and was confined to a wheelchair for only two hours a day.

They also gave the WRC a medical certificate from the elderly man who testified that he was unable to attend the three-day hearing due to illness. But the commission found that all this was baseless.

The alleged incident took place on January 7, 2018. Fearing the abuse of the elderly man who was under the influence of alcohol at the time, the care workers called the clinical nurse manager to the room, but instead of assisting them, they complained to the nursing director about the three.

All three were later fired in December 2018 for misconduct.

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