An Aberdeenshire care home worker who was sacked for racially abusing a colleague has been punished with a fine.
Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard how Victoria Costello, 26, got into a heated dispute with a staff member at Havencourt Nursing Home in Stonehaven in May 2019 and swore at him using a racial slur.
The argument was sparked by a difference of opinion about the correct equipment needed in a resident’s room.
During a staff meeting two days later, the maintenance technician highlighted the issue and later followed Costello into a lounge area to discuss the problem whereby she stood up, swore at the Nigerian national and uttered the racist term.
Fiscal depute Alison Reid said the man, who was with another colleague at the time, felt this comment “was directed at him and perceived it to be racist”.
Unlikely she will work in healthcare again
Defence solicitor Iain McGregor said Costello had been in full-time employment at Havencourt prior to the incident and was fired from her role as a result of her behaviour.
He added that it was “unlikely” Costello would ever be able to work in the healthcare sector in future.
Mr McGregor told the court: “Ms Costello admitted that she did make the very unfortunate remark and that it was directed towards the complainer.
“This is something that she acknowledges is wholly unacceptable and simply won’t be tolerated – she is apologetic for her conduct on that occasion.
“This was something of a one-off and she’d never undertaken this conduct before.
“As a result of this incident she lost her employment with the establishment and she has been unable to secure further employment since.
“And as a consequence, it is unlikely she will ever be considered for employment in that type of work again.”
‘Losing your job constitutes something of a punishment’
Sherriff Margaret Hodge said: “I’m sure you realise now the consequences of acting this way and using insults of this kind.
“However, it does seem to me the impact on you – you losing your job – constitutes something of a punishment.
“Nevertheless, I need to mark the offence so I’m going to impose a fine.”
Sheriff Hodge fined Costello, of Ecclesgreig Gardens, St Cyrus, £150 for her behaviour.
Havencourt Nursing Home and the operator at the time, Four Seasons Healthcare, were both approached for comment.