Samantha Price, who was awarded £34,000 by a Jersey Employment Tribunal for damages and compensation for unfair dismissal, has demanded resignations from the Jersey Women’s Refuge Committee.
Mrs Price was awarded the sum after leaving the Refuge in October 2015 following six years as Deputy Manager.
The Refuge argued there had been no breach of contract as Mrs Price resigned, but the tribunal came down heavily in her favour earlier this month, describing her treatment as a “witch hunt.”
Mrs Price has now broken her silence on the issue as she says the Refuge’s response to the tribunal ruling has been unsatisfactory. She has called for heads to roll at the Refuge Committee, who she says left her "victimised and very isolated."
She said: “To date, I had declined to pass comment regarding the harrowing ordeal I endured from the Jersey Women’s Refuge Committee, as I wished for no further reputational damage to occur to the Refuge, however given the events at the tribunal and the continuation of the current Jersey Women’s Refuge Committee’s campaign to create a negative impression of me, I feel the need to speak out publicly, in order to protect those who spoke out against the appalling ‘flawed’ investigation and subsequent disciplinary process undertaken.
“Personally, given the damming tribunal judgment against the Refuge, I was very shocked at Advocate Jamie Orchard’s press release where no apology was given, nor any real reassurances to the public that all members involved in the ‘witch hunt’ would no longer be a part of the Refuge committee.
“The tribunal summoned Mrs Lorna Kearney, Refuge Manager and direct line manager to myself, to give evidence which conflicted that of the Refuge committee members. During the full day hearing, Mrs Kearney was verbally targeted by members of the committee, stating ‘they would be going to her (Mrs Kearney) following the completion of the tribunal.’
“I have very serious concerns that any member involved in the process, who remains on the Refuge Committee, will hold grudges against Mrs Kearney and that she may too, especially given the threat in the hearing, sustain a similar campaign of harassment.
“I can only liken the acts undertaken by the Jersey Women’s Refuge committee members as to that of a perpetrator of abuse, who manipulate situations and abuse their power and control over others.
“Given that ‘In all circumstances, the Tribunal finds that the decision to discipline the applicant was unreasonable...’ I call upon Advocate Orchard to retract his statement as there was never any evidence presented to substantiate his comments regarding feedback into my management style. I find it very naive of him and believe that he is heavily influenced by those members involved that remain as part of the committee.
“I am passionate about the fantastic work that the Refuge does under the guidance of the Manager however I do fear that the Refuge Committee in its current form will continue to act in ways which undermine the management team.
“It is my view that the Jersey Women’s Refuge Committee abused their power and control over me, leaving me feeling stressed, harassed, victimised and very isolated. All of these behaviours are contrary to the values of the Jersey Women’s Refuge and amount to gross misconduct. All involved must be held accountable for their actions and must be called upon to resign from the Jersey Women’s Refuge Committee.”
Advocate Orchard says the Refuge are considering an appeal following the tribunal’s decision.
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