Great Ormond Street worker sues hospital for discrimination over claims she was called a ‘stupid northerner’

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·3 min read
Catherine Maughan is suing Great Ormond Street Hospital over bullying allegations. (SWNS)
Catherine Maughan is suing Great Ormond Street Hospital over bullying allegations. (SWNS)

A Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) worker who claims she was picked on because she was a white Christian woman is suing the hospital over bullying allegations.

Former data manager Catherine Maughan says colleagues called her a “stupid northerner” and is claiming sex, race and religious discrimination against the world famous children's hospital.

The 36-year-old, from Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, told a Central London employment tribunal how staff at the hospital told her not to drink after work because it would offend Muslims, kicked her in a lift, and subjected her to racial slurs and threatening behaviour.

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The tribunal heard how Maughan was so stressed her hair fell out, she was prescribed antidepressants and started counselling.

In a statement, she also claims she felt “extremely anxious, stressed, and worried for [her] safety” and alleges one individual banged his fist on a desk and told her she “would be sorry” that she complained about him.

She also claimed they sabotaged her attempts to get another job by providing “misleading” references and is separately claiming that GOSH deprived her of wages.

Great Ormond Street children's hospital is pictured in London on March 10, 2020. - Great Ormond Street announced on Tuesday that it had cancelled surgery on any children with serious heart problems, for two weeks, after a health professional working there was diagnosed with the coronavirus COVID-19. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Catherine Maughan had worked for Great Ormond Street Hospital for three years but transferred departments in July 2017. (Getty)

A tribunal panel heard Maughan, who had worked for the hospital for three years but transferred departments in July 2017, kept a journal of the alleged bullying which started on her first day in the job.

Examples of entries, which note the dates and sometimes the times of day of the alleged incidents, were included in her witness statement presented to the judge.

One of her entries accused another employee of describing Maughan as “another stupid white northerner”, while another employee allegedly told her she “must ask for permission when leaving my desk or using the toilet”.

Maughan claimed an internal staff survey revealed other colleagues felt that bullying was a problem in her department.

She said she raised the issue multiple times with colleagues but eventually, in November 2018, she made a formal complaint.

During an extended period time off work because of stress, Maughan claimed that GOSH tried to undermine her attempts to find another job – partly because she complained about a patient letter being sent to her home.

Catherine Maughan is claiming sex, race and religious discrimination. (SWNS)
Catherine Maughan is claiming sex, race and religious discrimination. (SWNS)

Referring to one failed job application, she said: “HR sent a misleading and inaccurate reference which resulted in the job offer at Leeds St James’s Hospital being withdrawn.

"I consider this is victimisation for raising complaints of bullying, discrimination, threatening behaviour, raising concerns about safety risks and raising concerns about data protection breaches.”

On the day she handed in her resignation letter, she noted: “I continue to lose a large amount of hair on a daily basis and I feel embarrassed and deeply devastated and upset, worried that a large amount of my hair has fallen out and I was left with visible bald patches and very thinned hair.”

In her resignation letter, enclosed in her statement, she said: “GOSH have breached trust and confidence and acted in a manner that damages my health, reputation and career prospects.

“GOSH have subjected me to abusive treatment and acted in breach of contact on numerous occasions.”

Maughan has made complaints of discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, and sex as well as a complaint that GOSH failed to pay or made unauthorised deductions from her wages.

The hospital denies all the allegations. The two-week tribunal continues.

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