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Grieving mum threatened with the sack by Redbridge Council

Thursday, January 16, 2014
8:00 AM

Three days after the funeral of her long term partner, a grieving mother received a disciplinary letter from the council threatening her with being sacked for her absence.

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Debi Martin, 48, lost her partner of 13 years, Richard Jemmott, 43, after he suffered a shock heart attack.

She took five weeks off her Redbridge Council highways job in order to grieve and care for their seven-year-old daughter.

Mr Jermott had been the main carer for their daughter while Miss Martin, of Ley Street, Ilford, worked.

Her doctor signed her off for three weeks and she was then told by management she could return following the funeral, she said.

She resumed work last week when her daughter returned to school but was handed a letter warning her of a stage three disciplinary hearing at the end of the month will discuss whether she is dismissed.

She said: “My seven-year-old depends on me now and I have a duty of care to her.

“I have lost a source of financial support and now I have been threatened with dismissal.

“But of course I would rather be at work than burying my partner.”

She believes the suddeness of his death exacerbated the grieving process. Mr Jemmott went to hospital with chest pains on December 1. “I told him to call me once he arrived,” said Miss Martin, “but that was the last time I spoke to him.”

A council spokesman said: “The council has deep sympathy for Ms Martin’s loss, however we are unable to comment further on the details of this case as it is a confidential employment matter.”

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