PORTERS at Sheffield’s maternity hospital who claim they were sacked after bosses accused them of stealing cups of coffee from the canteen have lost an appeal against their dismissal.
The porters were dismissed for accepting free drinks they say were offered as a kind gesture by staff in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital café, and for ‘misappropriating time’ by not returning to their lodge between jobs.
Three staff appealed against the decision, but it was upheld.
Rob Seymour, aged 59, said he may now take the matter to an employment tribunal.
“We all got a letter back saying they would not change their decision,” said Mr Seymour, a married dad-of-three from Stocksbridge.
“We’re all still out of work, we can’t move on because we’ve all got a charge of gross misconduct hanging over us.
“I went in to ask them to put a different sanction on, but they say they have enough evidence to say I stole goods from the cafeteria.
“In actual fact, I was offered them.”
Kevin O’Regan, hotel services director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “A number of serious allegations were made regarding these employees and a full investigation was carried out.
“Due to the outcome of this investigation disciplinary action was necessary and the employees were dismissed for reasons of gross misconduct.”
Mr Seymour and fellow porter Phil Lee, 42, from Hillsborough have been unable to find work.
Mr Seymour said he would drop the matter if the hospital gives him a reference.
“It makes you feel like a criminal. It’s a struggle finding work.
“I just thought it was the norm. We were offered drinks, and accepted them without payment. I thought it was a kind gesture. The arrangement we had was that the job was run from a bleeper, so if a job came through, you got up and did it.”