A social worker has failed in a bid to be reinstated after she was sacked for poor performance — despite claiming to have been the victim of domestic abuse.
Tracy Russell, of Riverside Road in Wormit, had been employed as a social worker within Dundee City Council’s criminal justice services department from June 2004 until March 2017.
Part of Ms Russell’s role was supervising offenders sentenced to community based orders and preparation of reports for those convicted of offences in the sheriff court.
However, her employment was terminated by the local authority, who cited gross misconduct relating to job performance.
The court heard that she had been subject to disciplinary action after complaints regarding the quality of content and timeliness of her reports, from as early as 2013.
According to testimony, Ms Russell met with managers regularly but her employers did not note any improvements.
Issues with reports lead sheriffs at Dundee Sheriff Court to call a meeting to discuss concerns about reports from the local authority’s social work department.
It is understood that the claimant’s reports were discussed and, following the meeting, she was no longer allocated court reports.
An investigation was launched – finding “a substantial number of concerns” with eight reports – and an internal audit of the department also uncovered a small number of “seriously noncompliant” reports – of which one was written by the claimant.
During the disciplinary process, in response to concerns about her work, Ms Russell had told of personal issues after her relationship broke down and a subsequent issue with childcare — she also disclosed claims she had been the victim of domestic abuse.
The sacking lead Ms Russell to take the local authority to an employment tribunal – alleging she had been unfairly dismissed.
She had initially lodged an action due to unlawful discrimination on the grounds of disability – however, she later withdrew the claim.
However, employment judge Ian McFatridge dismissed her claim – saying Dundee City Council had acted reasonably.