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UK – Former Healthcare Locums director in court over “wrongful dismissal and sexual discrimination”

10 April 2012

Kate Bleasdale, formerly celebrated for her success in the recruitment industry, is suing her former employer, staffing firm Healthcare Locums, over “wrongful dismissal and sexual discrimination” in a £12 million claim, The Telegraph reports. The case is allegedly being heard at a London employment tribunal today, the paper claims. In a similar case in 2002, she won more than £2 million in a settlement with recruitment firm, Match Group.

But the new management of Healthcare Locums are “understood to be determined to see the case out. No private deals. No out of court settlements,” the newspaper says.

This comes amidst reports that Ms Bleasdale is at the edge of bankruptcy after several legal disputes over unpaid debt with one of her former creditors who has filed bankruptcy proceedings against her, claiming around £100,000.  It has also come to light that she owes millions of pounds to law firms, banks and former business partners.

After she lost her job with the staffing firm she founded, Ms Bleasdale is said to have entered into settlements on separate legal disputes with two former business partners, recruitment firm Xchangeteam and inventor Debbie Forster. It has been reported that Ms Bleasdale had missed payments in one or both of these legal settlements.

Healthcare Locums has been troubled by negative press recently. In its unaudited preliminary results for 2011, the firm posted a £12.9 million operating loss. Chairman Peter Sullivan said that 2011 was “without doubt […] the most challenging year in the history of Healthcare Locums”. The company is currently considering whether remedies are available against former directors, including Ms Bleasdale, to recover unlawful dividends paid to shareholders and damages for breach of duty in authorising the relevant dividends.

In the US this year, proceedings had also been filed against the recruitment firm and former directors including, Ms Bleasdale. The proceedings have been filed by various hedge fund investors who believe that Healthcare Locums has misrepresented its profitability and accounting practices.

In 2011 the firm replaced its entire board because “corporate governance had been extremely poor and an immediate action of the new Board has been to improve the policies and procedures relating to the governance of the Company,” the firm said.

Healthcare Locums provides temporary and permanent staff to the healthcare and social care sectors such as doctors, qualified social workers, specialist nurses and allied health professionals in the UK and internationally. 

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