An aged care nurse who was sacked after kissing a patient has won his unfair dismissal claim and his job back.
The Fair Work Commission ordered Bendigo Health to reinstate the nurse, after firing him for allegedly violating nurse-patient boundaries.
Age care nurse said ‘goodnight and god bless’
Francis Logan lost his job after an incident at the aged care facility when he heard a patient recount an upsetting story from her past.
As a result, he touched her on the hand, kissed her on the forehead and said, “Goodnight and god bless”.
The patient complained about Logan’s behaviour, and Bendigo Health subsequently dismissed him.
Commission critical of employer
Logan admitted his behaviour is a violation of nurse-patient boundaries in the Fair Work Commission.
However, Commissioner John Ryan criticised how the employer handled the case.
He described correspondence between those investigating the incident and Bendigo Health CEO John Mulder as ‘misleading’.
Additionally, he found Mulder acted without speaking to Logan, and without reading all documentation about the incident.
In particular, recommendations made by the profession’s regulator, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
It recommended Logan be cautioned to “abide by the code of professional conduct for nurses by maintaining professional boundaries”, rather than being dismissed.
Reinstatement primary remedy
Miles Heffernan from IR Claims says the case shows many sacked employees have a strong case of unfair dismissal.
“The Commission found the employer failed to give the nurse procedural fairness,” he said.
“Therefore, the Commission found the dismissal unfair.”
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