A WOMAN from Abergele has lost claims of unfair dismissal, discrimination arising from disability, and unpaid holiday pay made against Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

Melanie Fowler was served notice of her dismissal by the health board in December 2022, having been off work due to stress for the previous nine months.

But her claims were dismissed following a three-day employment tribunal held remotely on February 12, 13 and 14.


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The tribunal heard that Ms Fowler had been employed by the health board as a nurse for five years up to her dismissal in January 2023.

She took sick leave on March 21, 2022, having said to be “overwhelmed by the needs of her family” and “finding it very difficult to balance this with work” at the time.

Her general practitioner then told the health board in May that she would not be fit for work until early July due to stress.

But by late September, she was still signed off work, and said at an absence review meeting that she was “happy to initially try one (‘therapeutic day’) session to see how things go, but can't commit to a number of them due to the anxiety of even doing one session”.

She was then invited for a “final review meeting”, scheduled for October 31, 2022, which explained to her that, if she could not identify a return to work date in the foreseeable future, her employment would be terminated on grounds of capability.

A four-week phased return to work began on November 1, but Ms Fowler completed only half of this due to feeling “physically and mentally fatigued”.

On December 7, she emailed Glenys Mutter, senior sister and Ms Fowler’s line manager: “I would like to see what the next steps are and what can be offered, and what is best all round.

“At present, I am not resigning, but am still in the same situation with mental and physical fatigue.”

A final review meeting was rescheduled for December 21, which Ms Fowler was too unwell to attend but gave her consent for it to proceed in her absence.

At this meeting, it was decided that there no was “no alternative” other than to terminate Ms Fowler’s employment on the grounds of incapacity to attend work due to health reasons.

Ms Fowler appealed this decision on January 3, 2023, but withdrew this on the day before her appeal hearing.

She told the tribunal that, since being dismissed by the health board, she has remained too unwell to work.

The health board did not make payment in lieu of notice in Ms Fowler’s case, for which it apologised to her.

Employment judge Stephen Povey, chairing the hearing, found that the health board was “entitled to not wait any longer” by December 2022.

It made the “proportionate” decision to dismiss Ms Fowler, the tribunal found, after receiving a “consistent and unambiguous message” from her throughout her absence period that she was unfit for work.

“As such, the decision-making process was procedurally fair,” the judge concluded.