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Sacking of covid helpline worker "arguably unfair", says court

Sacking of covid helpline worker

Thursday 27 July 2023

Sacking of covid helpline worker "arguably unfair", says court

Thursday 27 July 2023

A former covid-19 helpline worker who was sacked after accessing her family's records in what she claimed was an unintentional breach of policy has been denied the opportunity to bring a case to the Royal Court.

But while Bailiff Sir Timothy Le Cocq denied Lindsey Greechan's application for judicial review, he described the sacking as "arguably unfair".

Ms Greechan was seeking leave to challenge the States Employment Board's decision to uphold her dismissal last year from a post as an adviser involved in booking covid PCR tests, arranging vaccination appointments, and placing orders for lateral flow testing kit.

Previously, she had been employed by First Recruitment Limited to provide this support to the public.

Having worked for FRL and then directly for the Government between December 2021 and May 2022, Ms Greechan was called to a meeting on 24 May last year when she was told that a concern had arisen that she had accessed information on the computer database that she was not entitled to see.

She claimed that she did not have the opportunity to explain any mistakes she might have made followed training she had received from FRL, and that any beach of Government policy was unintentional.

Royal Court

Pictured: The Bailiff said said it was not always easy to determine the court's jurisdiction, but the fact that the case involved the SEB did not make it a public law case.

Having admitted accessing her family's data records, something which she was told constituted gross misconduct, her contract was terminated, and her dismissal upheld on appeal.

Giving judgment in Ms Greechan's application for a review, the Bailiff said that the case lacked a "sufficient public law element" to allow the court to assume jurisdiction for a judicial review.

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, he said it appeared that the initial decision not to continue Ms Greechan's employment was taken "at the end of an unfair and truncated procedure in which [she] was afforded no opportunity to prepare for the allegations to be made against her, nor to explain her position".

"Furthermore, again, it appears on the surface of the information before me, that in reviewing the dismissal of the applicant it would have been difficult for the [SEB] to conclude that the Applicant's employment had been discontinued as a result of a proper and fair process," Sir Timothy said.

The Bailiff said that it was not always easy to determine the court's jurisdiction in matters involving judicial review but the fact that the case involved the SEB did not make it a public law case.

"In my judgment, there are not sufficient features in this case or a sufficient public law element such as the court should assume jurisdiction to conduct a judicial review. No matter how the [SEB] has behaved towards the applicant, the relationship between them does not possess the public law element which is essential to justify an application for judicial review," Sir Timothy said, refusing the application.

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