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Sandwich Technology School cleaner from Deal sacked via WhatsApp by employers Ridge Crest Cleaning Ltd of Aylesford

A school cleaner signed off work has told of her shock at being sacked by text message.

Chloe Nichol, from Sholden near Deal, had been on sick leave with anxiety and Tourette’s syndrome - but her doctors’ certificate expired on June 30.

Two days later, despite the 32-year-old telling her bosses a new “fit note” from her GP was forthcoming, a supervisor sent her a WhatsApp message saying she would be receiving a P45 form.

A P45 is an official certificate given to a worker when their employment has ended.

Miss Nichol, of Five Ways Rise, told KentOnline: “I was shocked, confused and panicked by that text.

“The method was slightly unorthodox. It was impersonal.”

When contacted by KentOnline last week, bosses at contractors Ridge Crest Cleaning Ltd of Aylesford said they have a “very clear grievance policy” should Miss Nichol wish to make a complaint.

Chloe Nichol, of Sholden, Deal, was sacked via text message
Chloe Nichol, of Sholden, Deal, was sacked via text message

To her surprise, she was later offered her job back, but says the experience has left her unable to consider a return.

"I don't want to go back to work because of the way I was treated,” she said.

“I do not accept being sacked by text - that should not have happened.”

Since last November, Miss Nichol had been employed by Ridge Crest to work as a cleaner at Sandwich Technology School.

From May 31 to June 30 she was signed off ill with Tourette’s syndrome and anxiety.

A message sent by Miss Nichol on July 1 shows she told Ridge Crest she would be sending another doctor’s certificate to cover her until the end of the month.

The text telling Chloe Nichol, of Sholden near Deal, that she was fired and her reaction
The text telling Chloe Nichol, of Sholden near Deal, that she was fired and her reaction

But the next day, a supervisor told Miss Nichol by text: “Hi Chloe, I still haven't received sick note in this case I need to provide you P45. Thank you.”

Miss Nichol replied saying she would send it the next day, backdated - but the supervisor told her she was still in a probationary period and again said she would be sent a P45 form.

The former Walmer Science College pupil was originally hired by Ridge Crescent to work 25 hours a week. She was not on a temporary contract.

Miss Nichol said: “That job was perfect. I could just go in, I was pretty much on my own and I could get on and go home.”

Since being sacked, she had been left worried about having to look for a new job.

But then yesterday, just days after KentOnline contacted the company, she was told she was no longer dismissed as she had sent an updated fit note.

They warned her in future to provide such certificates in time as days off would be otherwise taken as unauthorised absence.

“I do not accept being sacked by text…”

However, Miss Nichol has refused Ridge Crescent’s offer and intends to raise a formal grievance with the company.

She had previously worked as a gym manager for DW Fitness at Westwood Cross in Thanet but lost her job due to immense pressures on businesses caused by pandemic lockdowns in 2020.

Last week, before Ridge Crescent offered Miss Nichol her job back, the firm’s managing director, Ian Beach, told KentOnline: “The company has a very clear grievance policy should Chloe feel that she has issues to raise over her employment with us.”

He declined to comment further yesterday.

Tourette's syndrome is a condition that causes a person to make involuntary sounds and movements called tics.

It usually starts during childhood, but the tics sometimes go away completely as a person gets older.

There is no cure for this condition but treatment can help manage it.

Swearing is rare and only affects about one in 10 people with the condition.

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