A Sheffield hospital trust has spent around £24,000 in legal fees preparing for an employment tribunal involving a former worker.
Marc Ewen is in the process of taking action against Sheffield Health & Social Care Trust, who he worked for last year, and has received a Freedom of Information response showing the trust has spent £23,947.10 on dealing with his claim so far.
Mr Ewen, aged 43, of Hillsborough, claims the money represents a ‘blatant abuse of public money’.
He says he was let go at the end of an initial three-month contract with the trust after he raised concerns about how service users were being treated.
His claims are denied by the trust, which has said it intends to ‘rigorously contest’ what he has alleged at the potential tribunal.
It says the costs are due to Mr Ewen’s ‘disproportionate approach to the matter’.
Mr Ewen said there are likely to be further legal costs to the trust after it rejected a number of offers from him for them to settle the claim without the matter going to a tribunal.
The FoI response from the trust’s head of corporate affairs Wendy Hedland said the costs were being incurred as a result of Mr Ewen’s actions in pursuing the claim.
She told him: “The vast majority of fees have been incurred in dealing with the unreasonable volume of communications and your continued allegations.
“You will appreciate that your very frequent communications – in circumstances where those communications do not advance your claim nor could they reasonably be said to do so – do require instructions to be taken by our advisors and responses drafted, etc.
“Given the slow progress in the tribunal proceedings, it is clear to us that those costs are substantial, but disproportionate in that they have been created by your disproportionate approach to the matter.”
Mr Ewen said: “I do accept there has been an awful lot of communication. But that is the nature of the beast and I have offered to settle with them on at least four occasions.”
A spokesman for Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust said: “An ex-employee has made a number of allegations regarding his employment with the Trust.
“Appropriate investigations into these allegations have taken place.
“The Trust intends to rigorously contest the claims at the Tribunal Hearing.
“As a result of the ongoing proceedings, it is not appropriate for the Trust to comment further at this time.”