16 August 2007
Charity lawsuit could cost £500,000
The ex-nursing director of a hospice has put in a claim for compensation against her former employers that could cost them half a million.
Anne Howard is suing St Mary's Hospice in Ulverston for unfair dismissal following a period of absence from work through back pain.
The charity hit back, saying her sick leave from her £45,000 a year job was "excessive and unnecessary", according to a report in the North West Evening Mail.
Ms Howard, who was sacked in October 2004, claims she developed acute back pain within weeks of starting her new job in May that year.
She filed a claim in 2005 at Newcastle Employment Tribunal, which was delayed by legal issues.
In December that year a jointly appointed expert concluded Ms Howard was genuinely suffering intermittent back pain.
The hospice was refused permission to have its own expert examine Ms Howard but Judge Jeffrey Burke has now overturned this decision.
Back pain is the most common reason for absences from work.