Woman struck off for sending too many texts during tumour ordeal

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A WOMAN who claims she was sacked from her university job for texting too much says she did not receive enough support when she found out she could lose an arm.

Tracy Scott, 42, was a premises manager at Edinburgh University Students Association (EUSA) for more than three years before being axed from her job for allegedly sending too many personal texts during working hours.

Ms Scott had just found out the devastating news that nothing could be done to remove two tumours and that she may lose her arm when she was forced to attend a disciplinary hearing over.

It is claimed she committed gross misconduct for using her mobile phone to send private texts during working hours and for failing to stop texting when her line manager told her to.

During a two-day employment tribunal in Edinburgh Ms Scott claimed she was never given clear instructions by her line manager, Alan Blackwood, to stop using her phone.

After an investigation and a disciplinary hearing, Sam Mason, director of trading and estates at EUSA, made the decision to dismiss Ms Scott.

Ms Scott’s final submissions were read out by her friend Lindsey Chisholm today (Tue).

She said: “I did try to explain to Sam Mason how I was feeling (during the disciplinary hearing) and that I was taking anti-depressants but unfortunately I was unable to do this.

“I had just found out this life-changing devastating piece of news from hospital and I did feel angry at EUSA for the way I had been treated.

“I could lose an arm – it is in fact the best case scenario in this terrible illness.

“I believe that I have shown that in a time that I needed support from EUSA I was in fact let down by them.

“I have always maintained it was not discussed as Alan Blackwood said it was.”

Ms Scott had also submitted a grievance about Mr Blackwood to EUSA which was not upheld.

On behalf of Ms Scott, Mrs Chisholm said: “I have shown from my statements taken from my grievance that communication between Alan Blackwood and myself had been a problem on previous occasions.

“Sam Mason said himself that large companies sometimes have problems with communication.

“Sam Mason decided to believe Alan Blackwood’s series of events over mine.”

She added: “I do not believe any reasonable employer would have someone dismissed for such an offence.”

On Monday Ms Scott claimed that her role within the company had been diminished due to restructuring.

She said this was one of the reasons why she had more time to text.

Cathy Donald, representing EUSA, said that the statement should be disregarded as it had not been given in original evidence at the disciplinary hearing.

She said: “The claimant acknowledges that she had a conversation with Alan Blackwood.”

“The claimant’s position is that she misunderstood the nature of this instruction but it is the respondent’s position that she did not misunderstand this instruction but just ignored it and she continued to send text messages at the same level as before.

“The itemised phone bills show that the claimant continued to send text messages at this level after being told.”

Yesterday (Mon) Mr Mason said Ms Scott had been sending texts every eight or nine minutes to about every 16 or 17 minutes.

Employment Judge Mary Kearns said: “We will reserve our decision and will let you know in no more than 27 days in writing.”

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