Hospital ordered to re-hire bat lady

by 04 May 2012

A New South Wales nurse who was sacked for bringing bats to work has won her job back.

Christine Borthistle was dismissed last November from her position at Lismore Base Hospital for repeatedly bringing sick and injured bats to work. At the unfair dismissal hearing, hospital officials claimed the woman brought live bats into the hospital’s mental health unit and was dismissed because it was an unhygienic and disturbing staff and patients.

Borthistle, who is also a registered wildlife carer, admitted that she had brought injured bats into the ward, but claims she ceased after a complaint in early 2011.

She was given the boot when she was issued with a first and final warning letter after an “urgent bat rescue and animal transfer” in the hospital car park last September.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) found the health authority failed to conduct an investigation or give the nurse an opportunity to state her case. As a result the IRC said Borthistle's termination was harsh, unreasonable and unjust.

The local health district has been ordered to reinstate the nurse within two weeks.

So, no more sick bats at Lismore Base, but nothing was said about sick pigeons!


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