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NHS Chief Executive quits following legal battle with fired HR boss

A married NHS Head of HR who was labelled a “whore”  by her former boss Alan Baines, and been fired has been awarded £832,000 in compensation.

Helen Marks lost her job at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust after spurning the attentions of Chairman Alan Baines. Angered by her rejection, Baines conspired with the Trust’s CEO Steve Trenchard to suspend and later fire Marks.

The employment tribunal ruled that Marks had been unfairly dismissed from her £99,000-a-year role after being called a “whore” and being sexually harassed by Baines. Baines quickly left the Trust, after he learned that Marks was taking legal action against him, in order to “keep his good name intact.”  Trenchard was suspended for his role in the affair. However, he was still given full pay for seven months and a final payout of £75,000.

The incident began when Marks befriended Baines, having lunches with him to discuss their roles in the Trust. However, when Marks explained to Baines that she was getting married, he turned jealous and manipulative, becoming enraged when another member of staff bought Marks a drink on a staff night out. Marks explained that she felt “the situation was becoming increasingly difficult” and explained that she believes Baines “intended to humiliate her.”

Following the decision of the tribunal to award Marks the compensation, the Trust’s Interim Chairman Richard Gregory, spoke publicly about the whole affair, saying: “I want to make some apologies. Firstly, to Helen Marks for everything that she has experienced…I hope she gets better very soon and I wish her well in her career. And I want to say sorry to the community for the loss of funds – it is a lot and a big loss. A huge amount of time has been spent on this case. Time which should have been spent on patients and care…We need to make sure these things do not happen again. We have taken a serious look at what happened and improved.”

We can all avoid wasting money in settlement agreements, tribunals and legal costs, by investing a fraction of that cost in preventative training and culture change. In this case, investing 0.5% of the total costs could have saved them over £800,000!

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