A father says he was ‘sacked on the spot’ after he took a day off to care for his poorly triplet daughters.
Former HGV tipper driver Ross Mclean felt it would be too dangerous for him to work after staying up all night caring for his girls, Charlotte, Leah and Sophie.
The three-year-olds have weakened immune systems after being born 33 weeks into pregnancy , the smallest weighing just 2lb 15oz.
Ross, who has been working at Bradley Surface Mine since September last year, estimates he’s taken around nine days’ sick leave in that time – mostly when his daughters have been taken ill.
On Thursday, July 11, Ross had to stay up all night with the girls after wife Joanne had cared for them all day, reports Chronicle Live .
The next morning he knew he wouldn’t be safe to drive a HGV, so he informed his manager he couldn’t come to work.
The following day he says he received an official letter summoning him to a meeting and warning he could be dismissed.
But on Monday he was told he wouldn’t be coming back to work, he claims.
The Banks Group, which owns the mine, said it couldn’t comment on Ross’ case as he still has the right to appeal, but insisted it had “well-established personnel procedures” and that employees usually stayed with the group for more than double the national average time.
Ross, from Consett, County Durham, says he was paid for one week’s notice as well as for holidays he hadn’t yet taken, and now faces a rush to find more work to keep providing for his young family.
The 36-year-old says he doesn’t plan to appeal the decision, however, as the row has left him no longer wanting to work for the company.
“I’m absolutely fuming – I didn’t realise they could just sack you on the spot like that,” he said.
“I was surprised because they’re meant to be big on mental health and things, they have all the posters saying come and talk to us if you’ve got a problem, but there was none of that.”
He claims he hadn’t previously been told his attendance was a problem, and believed his bosses knew that the first months after the girls started nursery were likely to be difficult ones, and that things were likely to improve as they got older and stronger.
He believes the company should have been more understanding of his family situation.
He said: “I started in September and they started nursery in October, they knew that.
“They said they would give me a bit of leeway. If they don’t believe me, ring the school and ask how much time they have off, it’s a nightmare with how ill they’ve been.
“It’s not like I wanted time off for myself – I’ve still got holiday days left, if I’d just wanted time off I would have taken them.
“In the meeting, I was compared to the rest of the drivers who don’t have as much time off as me, but not one of them has a three-year-old triplet family to deal with.
“I tried to explain to my boss that it’s hard now when the kids are so young, but should get better.”
In a letter confirming his dismissal, Banks told Ross his absence had a “detrimental impact on our business requirement to deliver to our customers”.
The company said: “During the discussions you offered no assurances to remedy the concerns we have in respect of your repeated nonattendance…
“The panel carefully considered all the issues surrounding your repeated nonattendance during the short time you have been employed with Banks Transport and concluded that in considering your suitability, it was decided in the best interests of both parties not to continue with your employement.”
A spokesperson for The Banks Group said: “The Banks Group operates well-established personnel procedures which are fully in line with the ACAS code of practice.
“We hold the silver level accreditation from Investors In People for our performance in people management, were named Employer Of The Year in this year’s Apprenticeship Skills Awards and the average length that our employees stay with us is around nine and a half years, which is more than twice the national average.
“We are unable to comment on any ongoing individual cases, but can confirm that our employees have the right to appeal against decisions reached through our human resources processes.”