An emergency worker was sacked after she was caught ‘having sex’ with a colleague at the back of an ambulance at a football stadium, an employment tribunal has heard.
Emma Croydon was spotted driving into the car park at Portsmouth FC behind the ambulance and then got into the back of it with the male driver.
When two security guards approached the ambulance, they found the couple in a ‘state of undress’ with the man’s trousers undone and shoes off, the tribunal was told.
CCTV footage was then obtained which showed the ambulance ‘swaying from side to side’, the panel heard.
The incident in the car park at Fratton Park was investigated and the two were both sacked for gross misconduct.
Miss Croydon, who said the guards had lied about what they had seen and argued that the ambulance service’s procedure was ‘flawed’ and ‘dishonest’, later brought a claim of unfair dismissal before an employment tribunal.
But it dismissed this, finding her conduct a fair reason for being fired.
Miss Croydon had begun working for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation trust, which covers Hampshire, in December 2015 as a healthcare professional technician.
The following year she started working as an ambulance care assistant but went off sick in September 2018 due to ill health.
Three months later, during her sick leave, a security guard and a colleague saw the ambulance and an unmarked car drive into the Portsmouth FC car park, where a blood donation unit was operating.
The vehicles parked next to each other and a man in uniform and Miss Croydon went into the ambulance together, the tribunal heard.
When security confronted the couple, they found the man with his shirt ‘untucked’ and his ‘belt undone’ after which the ambulance was seen ‘rocking from side-to-side quite significantly’, the tribunal heard.
The guard then shone the headlights of their car onto the ambulance and saw the man doing up his belt, the panel was told.
CCTV showed Miss Croydon coming out of the vehicle and driving out of the car park.
Bosses were able to identify the male driver who was on duty using the ambulance’s registration plate and Miss Croydon was confirmed as driving the unmarked car, the panel heard.
The male driver was suspended but Miss Croydon was not as she was absent from work but her conduct was investigated.
Miss Croydon told bosses she had been depressed and upset that evening and had seen her colleague by chance while waiting at traffic lights on a crossroads.
He had realised she was upset, asked if she was OK and then said she should follow him, after which they drove to the car park but she denied being undressed and engaging in an act of sexual nature, the panel heard.
During the disciplinary hearing, she said she was not friends with the man but could not explain why she would join him in the back of the ambulance with the lights off.
The hearing – held remotely from South London – was also told she argued that the security guards had lied about what they had seen, but this was not accepted as she could not explain why they would do this.
Miss Croydon was sacked for gross misconduct in April 2019 which she appealed, arguing the trust’s procedures were ‘flawed’ and ‘dishonest’, but her dismissal was upheld.
She then sued her former employer for unfair dismissal.
The panel, headed by employment judge Maxwell Charles Craft, dismissed her claim, concluding: “[The security guards] were trusted, longstanding employees of the football club and were not known to Miss Croydon.
“She admitted she did not know of any reason why they would lie about what had happened. Their account was supported by the CCTV evidence.
“The vehicle was seen to be swaying from side-to-side and the male colleague was seen with his trousers undone and shoes off and, subsequently, CCTV evidence indicates that Miss Croydon and her male colleague were either engaging in, or about to engage, in sexual activity.
“The tribunal has concluded that at the relevant time the trust had a genuine belief Miss Croydon had been guilty of gross misconduct [for] inappropriate use of trust property; conduct likely to give an offence to patients, other employees, visitors or the general public; and conduct that had potential to impact on the reputation of the trust.”