‘Sit on my lap and see what comes up’: social worker suspended for sexual touching

The Dorset social worker told the HCPC he could not recall slapping two female colleague's bottoms and using inappropriately sexual language with them

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A social worker has been suspended for six months after behaving in an inappropriate and sexual manner towards two female colleagues.

‘Harassed’

The social worker was employed by Dorset County Council and on secondment to the local NHS trust’s forensics team when he began to harass two junior support workers, known as Colleague A and Colleague B, slapping them on the bottom and using inappropriately sexual language to them.

The two women alleged that between 2009 and 2013 he touched them inappropriately, twanged the woman known as Colleague A’s bra strap and asked to see Colleague B’s pierced nipple.

He said to both women at different times words to the effect of: “come and sit on my lap and see what comes up,” a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) panel heard.

He was dismissed from his post in April 2014.

‘Inappropriate touching’

The panel noted  the service manager for the social worker’s locality of South East and Dorset was reluctant to give evidence against him, but nevertheless provided a “convincing account” of the registrant’s inappropriate conduct and comments.

His line manager between 2009 and 2010 did not recall Colleague A complaining about inappropriate touching, but did recall inappropriate comments. The defendant told the panel he did not have any recollection of the events.

Although much of the alleged misconduct occurred more than five years ago, and there were few witnesses, the panel said the social worker in question’s work with vulnerable mental health patients made his actions a particular cause for concern.

Panel chair Penny Griffith said: “The panel was not provided with any evidence that [he] had remediated his misconduct and had full insight into his actions. In considering the overall seriousness of this matter, the Panel concluded that the appropriate and proportionate sanction was a suspension order.”

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