Sandy Croly refused to pick up ‘much bigger’ Kelly Ann Smith because she was worried about her unborn baby – before being sacked by text
A pregnant carer who was branded “useless” by her patient because she couldn’t lift her into bed anymore has won £25,000 in a discrimination case.
Sandy Croly, who was considered a high-risk pregnancy as she previously lost a child, refused to pick up “much bigger” Kelly Ann Smith because she was worried about her unborn baby.
But the 31-year-old was left shocked when her employer, who is paralysed, hit back and ordered her to – telling her there was “no point her being there” if she couldn’t help.
Miss Croly ended up lifting her employer into bed at her home and suffered a worrying bleed.
Ms Smith, who also goes by the name Kelly Passam, then stopped paying her and days later sacked Miss Croly by text, leaving the pregnant woman without enough money for food.
Now Miss Croly, from Nottingham, has successfully sued Ms Smith for pregnancy discrimination and won £24,432.
The black personal care assistant also won a race discrimination claim after Ms Smith’s other carers made “snide comments” about her, gave her “dirty looks”, and even falsely accused her of smoking cannabis at work.
The tribunal in Nottingham heard Miss Croly was one of five personal carers to Ms Smith, a mother-of-two who required 24-hour care as she was paralysed from the waist down.
Miss Croly only worked for her for three months until she was sacked in July 2019, it heard.
The hearing was told she previously went into premature labour and her daughter sadly died, so when she fell pregnant again she was considered high risk and was “anxious about it and not wanting to anything that may put her unborn child at risk”.
A tribunal report said: “As part of her role Miss Croly was required to help Ms Smith get in and out of bed.
“Ms Smith had a hoist to lift her in and out of bed but refused to use it.
“On one occasion, shortly before the end of Miss Croly’s employment, Ms Smith asked her to lift her up (to) her bed.
“She is much bigger than Miss Croly, and Miss Croly said that she could not lift her because she was pregnant, and Ms Smith was too heavy for her to lift.
“Ms Smith replied that if she would not lift her, there was ‘no point’ in her being there because she was ‘useless’.
“Miss Croly lifted her on that occasion, because she needed the job. Leaving work that day she was bleeding. She was very anxious and contacted her GP, who signed her off work for 8 weeks.”
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Ms Smith wouldn’t accept her fit note, stopped paying her, and sacked her by text – even claiming she wasn’t “that bad of a boss”.
The report added: “Miss Croly was very upset by the way she was treated by Ms Smith and the other carers employed.
“She lost her confidence and has not worked as a carer since.
“After she was dismissed in July she did not receive any benefits for weeks. She went into rent arrears and feared that she would lose her home.
“She has only just finished paying back the rent arrears.
“She did not have enough money to buy food. She used food banks and walked to her grandmother’s house as she could not afford the bus fare.
“Her grandmother gave her food and the bus fare home. The impact of the discrimination upon Miss Croly has been significant.”
The tribunal panel ruled that Miss Croly be awarded £24,432 for pregnancy discrimination and race discrimination.
Ms Smith did not attend any tribunal hearing or engage with the tribunal for more than two years.
It was heard that after dismissing Miss Croly she spent time at hospital in Sheffield.
Miss Croly went on to have a son and then a daughter.
Following the case, the full time mother of two said: “Her treatment has affected me badly, she has knocked my confidence and trust in people.
“I haven’t been a carer since.
“I had been a carer for more than 10 years and I have never been treated they way Kelly treated me.”