Great Ormond Street worker who claims she was called ‘white b****h’ loses case

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A former Great Ormond Street Hospital worker who claimed she was called a "silly white b***h" by her colleagues has had her discrimination case thrown out.

Catherine Maughan, 36, sued the London children's hospital, alleging she had been discriminated against for her sex, race and religion.

She said she was bullied for her Christian faith and called a "stupid northerner" for being from Yorkshire.

Maughan also claimed staff told her not to drink alcohol after work as it would offend Muslims, and alleged she suffered racial slurs and threatening behaviour.

In a sworn witness statement to the Central London employment tribunal, Ms Maughan also said she was told to "accept that in black African culture, men are dominating towards women".

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She added she felt "extremely anxious, stressed and worried for her safety" while working at the hospital, and claimed she was prescribed anti-depressants after her hair began falling out due to the stress.

On Monday the tribunal dismissed Ms Maughan's allegations of bullying, ruling that she was neither racially nor sexually discriminated against.

Her claim of religious discrimination was also dismissed.

However, the panel, chaired by Employment Judge Harjit Kaur Grewal, did find that Miss Maughan had had wages unfairly deducted after she was docked five hours' pay for leaving work early one Friday without permission.

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Its judgement read: "The unanimous judgment of the Tribunal is that: The complaints of direct race discrimination are not well-founded.

"The complaints of direct sex discrimination are not well-founded. The complaint of victimisation is not well-founded. The complaint of unauthorised deduction of wages is well-founded."

Ms Maughan began working at Great Ormond Street Hospital's cardiac intensive care department in 2015 on a temporary contract, and her role was made permanent the following year.

The allegations related to a later posting in the Newborn Screening unit, where she began working in July 2018 and was promoted to data office manager.

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Her tribunal found there was tension among the laboratory assistants, agency staff and apprentices Maughan managed, who were all overseen by head of Newborn Screening Adeboye Ifederu.

The tribunal found the previous data manager Esther Acanit had only lasted six months in the job.

Alice Munn, the manager before her, gave evidence on Ms Maughan's behalf, claiming Mr Ifederu had bullied her. She had previously described him as "miserable and sadistic" and called him a "wild animal".

However, the tribunal ruled Ms Munn was a not reliable or impartial witness.

The tribunal heard Mr Ifederu had warned Ms Maughan about "different personalities in the team" and that she should be mindful of members who were "outspoken and not slow to voice their concerns".

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Ms Maughan told the tribunal she was so concerned by the hostility of her new workplace she began documenting worrying incidents on her first day.

But this evidence was dismissed as the tribunal said it was "extremely unlikely" she had started writing everything down so early on, believing it's more likely she began the documentation months after confrontations occurred.

The tribunal also ruled that Miss Maughan "distorted conversations that had taken place" concerning alcohol and Islam.

They also ruled Miss Maughan had exploited colleague Ayotunde Ojo's curiosity about her birthplace to fuel claims of racial discrimination, finding that Ms Ojo "probably referred to her as being a 'Yorkshire girl"=' but that she did not say that rudely or refer to her being white".

Following a confrontation with Mr Ifederu in December 2018, Miss Maughan was signed off sick from work in January 2019.

She resigned from Great Ormond Street Hospital in November 2019.

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