unfair-dismissalA dental surgery receptionist who was given a written warning by bosses for eating an apple at her desk has won a case for constructive dismissal against the surgery.

Rachel Carr was disciplined by managers at the Smile by Smile dental surgery in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, and walked out after five years working there, claiming that the new bosses at the practice were “gunning” for her and the situation had affected her health.

Ms Carr received a written warning for her eating habits and was also accused of breaking other rules, including using Facebook during work hours and packing her bag too early before the end of her shift.

However, Ms Carr could now be set to receive thousands of pounds in compensation after she successfully claimed constructive dismissal at an Employment Tribunal in Birmingham.

Commenting on the case, she said:

“It was ridiculous. The apple was cut into slices and in a beaker. I just took a bite now and then.

“I wouldn’t mind, but one of the partners used to eat Cadbury mini-eggs in reception.”

Ms Carr represented herself at the Employment tribunal and added:

“I’m just glad the system works. I represented myself, was not sure how it worked, but went in there and told the truth.

“They were gunning for me, hopefully, I’ve shown others they don’t have to sit there and take it. They can do something about it.”

Commenting on the accusations of leaving early, she stated that she rarely left on time and that the allegations that she packed her bags too early were untrue.

It was revealed that the practice claimed it had concerns about Ms Carr’s ability to ‘follow procedure’, and gave her a final warning for misconduct after they alleged that she was taking personal calls on her mobile and looking at Facebook during working hours, as well as eating an apple.

It was also heard that Ms Carr had forgotten to turn off the X-ray machine, which was part of her responsibilities.

In response to the decision, Dr Peter Patel, of Smile By Smile, said:

“Smile by Smile puts patients’ needs and clinical excellence at the heart of the service they provide.

“The partners have read the judgment and are taking legal advice for an appeal.

“At this stage it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the judgement and issues regarding employment and conduct of Rachel Carr at Smile by Smile in view of the fact that the case may go back to the Tribunal for an appeal.”