A man who worked in disabled care, Andrew Lambert, has been reinstated in his job by an employment tribunal, after he had been sacked for “inappropriate behaviour” towards two intellectually disabled women in his care. [link to Sydney Morning Herald story – may be triggering]
To the great good credit of the organisation which employs him, the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Homecare, he hasn’t actually been allowed to go back on the job, but he’s now collecting his full salary.
Lambert’s behaviour was nasty. He kissed the young women, held them in “full-frontal embrace”, and then lied to the department when it investigated the matter. There were more serious allegations involving sexual touching, but they weren’t pursued by the department. The department obviously felt that the kissing and embracing was enough to justify dismissing him. But the Government and Related Employees Tribunal directed that he be reinstated, despite New South Wales’ highest court saying that his dismissal was justified.
Lambert’s excuse – he was depressed, and suffering from prostate cancer, and he had a falling out with a colleague.
Well, depression can be severe and debilitating, but surely that’s a factor to be taken into account when someone is sentenced for assault. Or it would be, if this man had been charged with assault. But I can find no record of any assault charges laid against him. So what’s with that then? It doesn’t count because his victims have a disability?
Appallingly, people with disabilities are much more vulnerable to abuse than people without disabilities [link]. That should make it all the more important to pursue assault charges against abusers, including Andrew Lambert.