Today's Labour News

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healthcareTimesLIVE reports that 33-year-old Sarah Whitehead, a doctor with a disability, is taking Life Healthcare to the labour court, accusing it of unfairly dismissing her from Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town.  

Whitehead was fired last August after more than four years as a part-time doctor in the rehabilitation unit, where she worked with disabled patients.  Ironically, she says, she was fired on the basis of her disability.  But, Life Healthcare HR executive Chris Gouws said:  “She unfortunately could no longer respond in terms of the services the rehabilitation unit required.”  Whitehead was diagnosed with developmental venous anomaly when she was in matric.  The condition impairs her mobility and balance.  Her lawyer, Glyn Williams, related that in August 27 last year, Whitehead was called into a meeting and told there were “concerns” about her ability to care for patients, and that “they would find someone else to perform her duties”.  Whitehead was “shocked and profoundly distressed” and two days later, received a letter of termination.  Gouws claimed that Whitehead was an independent contractor and that her appointment as such was “lawfully terminated”.  According to Williams, this was untrue, and that she had been a part-time permanent employee.  Williams also said that until last August there was never a single complaint, disciplinary hearing or inquiry into Whitehead’s alleged incapacity.  The case will be heard in the labour court in June.

  • Read Tanya Farber’s report on this story at TimesLIVE

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