Care Worker Sacked For Making Video Dancing To Beyoncé Wearing PPE
Fifty-five-year-old Michelle Cooper had spent the past 13 years looking after the elderly and vulnerable in her community and had an unblemished record up until this point.
However, her attempt to spread a bit of laughter by dancing to Queen B's smash hit 'Single Ladies' has now left her career in tatters.
It's not like she was the first person to have a similar idea to this, either. Loads of emergency services workers such as police officers and firefighters have filmed themselves dancing in attempts to bring a bit of much-needed levity to a relentlessly bleak situation.
Michelle and three of her colleagues filmed themselves dancing to the song while wearing PPE outside her house, but her bosses at Cormac - a Cornwall Council owned care business - didn't see the funny side.
After the video was positively received in May, the company took disciplinary action against her and the three others seen in the video.
Now Michelle - who worked helping people who have recently been discharged from hospital to rehabilitate - says she was sacked for 'gross misconduct' after spending months on suspension.
She's been left 'gobsmacked' by the decision and says that the video was 'meant to put a smile on a few faces during a difficult time'.
Michelle, from Helston in Cornwall, said: "The impact on my whole family has been devastating.
"It started when I contacted one of my colleagues and asked if they would be interested in doing a video for our team.
''I had seen hundreds of videos done by NHS workers, the fire and police service and they always had a positive reaction.
She continued: ''It was just designed to show our staff we are here, we are thinking of you and this is what we want to happen at the end when we are all together again."
"The initial reaction to it was brilliant. We got loads of text messages and comments on the video from people saying it had really made them smile and uplifted everybody.
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"It was filmed with my colleagues outside the front of my house and we practiced social distancing and were wearing PPE that had been donated to us by a local company in Helston so we didn't have to use our own.
"We got a few small donations from friends and family so we could treat the team to a cream tea.
"We did not tell anyone we were doing it and did not ask for permission as at the time everyone else was doing it, so we thought, 'Why not?'"
However, despite speaking to her manager, who said it was 'brilliant', she then got a call from a senior member of Cormac staff saying they didn't deem the video 'appropriate'.
Michelle explained: "We were told we could have ruined or scarred their reputation. They thought we had done it in a service user's garden but it was filmed outside my house.
"After an investigation it went to a stage 3 disciplinary for gross misconduct. We were told we had gone against the social media procedure for not asking for permission. We accepted that part but explained we wanted it to be a surprise, boost morale and make people laugh.
"They kept claiming it could ruin the reputation of Cormac, but there was no evidence of any complaints about it. It was all about what could have happened but none of it actually did.
"Even before the outcome of the hearing they decided I was to be sacked and I was dismissed on August 3.
"The other three in the video received final written warnings."
She added that the way they'd been treated was, in her view, 'disgusting' and said: "We did not think we had done anything wrong."
Alison Waller, managing director of Cormac Community Care Services, said: "Without commenting on any specific cases, as one of Cornwall's largest employers, Corserv is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of all our employees and our communities.
"Our social care services are helping to support the most vulnerable people across Cornwall operating under clear local and national regulation. Our company policies are in place to ensure we adhere to all regulation standards which are there to protect and guide our workforce and to protect our clients.
"Where there is a significant breach of regulated activity we will always take the appropriate action to resolve."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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