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Chef sacked 'a fortnight after his wife died from cancer'
A CHEF who went on sick leave for stress because his wife had terminal cancer claims he was sacked a fortnight after she died.
Vincent Purcell was a sous chef at Stones Cafe Bar, in Rochdale Old Road, Bury.
The 63-year-old was employed on a zero hours contract and gave a two-week sick note to employers Karen and Katie Stone on September 12 because he was caring for his 49-year-old wife, Dawn.
Three days later, on September 15, Dawn, died at their home in Swinton.
Mr Purcell extended his sick note for a further four weeks and said he hoped, after six weeks off, he would be fit to return to work.
He said that on September 26, Karen Stone phoned him and on hearing he had extended his sick leave and terminated his employment with one weeks’ notice which was confirmed in an email two days later.
The Stones say Mr Purcell told a fellow employee he was not planning to return to his job after the six weeks’ leave in a text message and so were acting “well within their rights” to dismiss him.
Mr Purcell said: “There is absolutely no compassion here. I may have been on a zero hours contract but I completely blame the owners. They have worked the system and the system was there for them to abuse.
“I am not pensionable age yet and it will be a real struggle for me to find another job now and make ends meet.”
Dawn was Mr Purcell’s third wife. He said: “My employers were completely aware of her illness as they used to be flexible with the rota, letting me have the time off to visit Dawn in hospital or take her to see the specialist which was good.
“They could have just got another casual worker to cover me while I was away.”
Katie Stone said she and Karen had done everything by the book with regards to Mr Purcell’s statutory sick pay and notice period.
She said: “We are a small independent business and we could not function with one chef so we had to replace Mr Purcell as we did not know when he would be returning to employment.
“We did everything we possibly could to prevent this but when it came down to it, we had no choice but to let him go.
“We have acted to the letter of the law and he would have no case in an employment tribunal as we have done nothing wrong.”
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