Court determines child safety worker sacking justified

A FORMER Maryborough child safety worker who took her old employer to court over allegations she tried to take a child from his mother has had her case dismissed.

In a judgment published this week, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission found in favour of the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, which sacked Susan Lloyd in May 2013.

Departmental investigations found Ms Lloyd had tried to remove a child from his mother and place him in foster care, despite being told not to while working at the Maryborough department office.

The department also claimed she did not act appropriately when the boy came forward and told her that his foster carers had abused him.

The boy said his male carer placed his thumb on the child's throat while a female carer allegedly told the boy that he was nothing but a "f*** up".

The department said Ms Lloyd, who had worked with the department for 12 years, did not report this appropriately, which put the boy and two other children at risk.

But she said she thought the mother was behind the complaints.

Ms Lloyd also said the carers had two other children, who she thought enjoyed living with them.

It was alleged the choking incident occurred about eight months before the boy reported it and in a meeting with him and his mother, Ms Lloyd questioned the boy why he did not report it sooner.

The department also alleged Ms Lloyd used "inappropriate physical behaviours" towards the child and his mother during a heated meeting when she stood up and raised her left hand in front of the mother as she was trying to exit the room.

Ms Lloyd said she was just trying to slow the meeting down but another staff member who was there said her colleague was trying to intimidate the mother.

In her judgment, Commissioner Minna Knight said Ms Lloyd's handling of the matter was a "serious breach of trust" and "a gross error of judgment" for someone who should have known better.

She found Ms Lloyd's dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable and dismissed the case.

- APN NEWSDESK



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