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Critical Care Technologist at Barts wins victimisation claim after manager assumed his guilt without investigation

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead Burton

In the case of Mr N Chowdhury v Barts Health NHS Trust Mr Chowdhury is a Senior Critical Care Technologist. His line manager is Mr Aldridge and also reporting into Mr Aldridge are two other Senior Care Critical Technologists, Mr Patelca and Mohammed Ali. They form the leadership of the “tech team” of the Royal London Hospital’s Adult Critical Care Unit (“ACCU”). Their responsibilities involve supplying and maintaining medical devices used on the unit.

Mr Patelca and Mr Chowdhury were both working on 27 March 2021. Both brought complaints the following day about what happened. Mr Chowdhury did checks on equipment in the morning and Mr Patelca did checks on the same equipment in the evening. When Mr Patelca did the evening checks, he found that a membrane should have been changed in a medical device and that a message saying so would have been visible when Mr Chowdhury did his morning checks. He took a photo of the equipment in question. He asked Mr Chowdhury about it in front of two other team members. The result was an argument. Both perceived the other as confrontational.

Following the argument Mr Patelca went off sick. On the electronic rota system, which is accessible to staff of the Mr Chowdhury’s grade and above, Mr Aldridge recorded the reason for the absence as:

Vlad reported that he had a confrontation with Nurur over the weekend and was feeling stressed as a result

The Tribunal concluded that:
“We do not accept the explanation of Aldridge as being innocent. Rather, we find he was venting his feelings because [Chowdhury] had made himself out to be the victim when it was [Chowdhury’s] alleged perpetrator who had ended up off sick. We find this to have been an act of victimisation,” the tribunal added.

Mr Chowdhury’s award will be determined at a later date.

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