Care charity slammed for hounding former employee


Union criticises charity after sheriff officers sent to recoup debt 

10th November 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland’s biggest care charity has been accused of intimidating a former employee after sending sheriff officers to her door in a bid to recoup a salary overpayment.

Former Quarriers’ worker Karen Timoney said she had been unaware of the overpayment and only found out when debt collectors turned up at her brother's home in October to serve court papers.

She had been employed by the charity for 10 years before leaving her post as a literacy development officer in March due to ill-health.

Unison officials condemned the heavy-handed approach by the charity as “unprecedented” and is calling for the chief executive to step in and put an immediate end to the practice.

But Quarriers defended its stance saying it had a responsibility to recover overpayments.

Deborah Clarke, head of community for Unison Scotland, said: “When Karen contacted us we were completely astounded – we’ve never heard of a charity that works to care for people treating staff in such a manner.  

It’s time for Quarriers to see sense and to apologise to Karen for their mistake - Deborah Clarke

“We still don’t have any explanation from Quarriers about what the overpayment relates to.”

Clarke said the former worker found herself in this situation through no fault of her own and remained unaware that she had been overpaid.  

“She was a low-paid worker who has not been in full-time employment since she left Quarriers and, despite offering to set up a payment plan, Quarriers failed to withdraw the court proceedings until Unison intervened.

“The stress this has placed on Karen has been unimaginable and it’s time for Quarriers to see sense and to apologise to Karen for their mistake and to put an end to this Policy which was introduced without any consultation with Unison.”

Timoney said as yet there has been no explanation what the payment was for or why and that the situation was making her life “hell”.

She added: “I need this to be resolved,” she said. “I don’t have a problem paying if I’m told what it’s for. This is my reputation at stake – I at least deserve an explanation.”

Quarriers provides care services for adults disabilities, families and children, people with epilepsy, and young adults and has the biggest social care workforce in the country. 

A Quarriers’ spokesperson said: “Quarriers writes to any employee affected to explain the overpayment and to offer the opportunity to agree an affordable repayment plan. 

"If, after several attempts to make contact, there is no response the matter is passed to lawyers and then sheriff officers. 

“While we can’t comment in detail on individual cases, we are aware of the details regarding this situation and we’ve taken all reasonable steps to recover this overpayment before progressing with further action.”