Dad sacked by bosses for ice bucket challenge

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A dad’s ice bucket challenge stunt backfired when his bosses fired him from his job.

Father-of-two Matthew Hearn was dismissed from his job at Freeport Fleetwood shopping centre after taking part in the charity challenge where freezing water is poured over a participant’s head in aid of good causes.

Prank backfired: Matthew Hearn doing his charity challenge and with his family

Prank backfired: Matthew Hearn doing his charity challenge and with his family

Mr Hearn, 30, hoped his employers would see the funny side of his prank, but he was sacked for setting up the challenge during working hours.

And a workmate was so angered by Mr Hearn’s treatment that he quit in disgust.

Mr Hearn, the sole breadwinner for a family of four, including his newborn baby Macey and three-year-old daughter Emily, said: “I’m fuming as you can imagine.

“I’m out of work and I’ve got two kids I have to provide for. I’m gutted by it because I feel I was doing a great job there.”

Prank backfired: Matthew Hearn doing his charity challenge and with his family

Prank backfired: Matthew Hearn doing his charity challenge and with his family

Mr Hearn’s partner Stacey Carley, 28, said: “We’re both shocked.

“I don’t have a job at the moment because I stay at home with the children so this is really going to set us back now.”

Mr Hearn, from Beach Road, Fleetwood, had held the position of cleaning manager at the complex since June, a service sub-contracted by the centre to Care Facility Management.

He decided with two colleagues to set up the challenge on Saturday, August 30, after he claims he was given the green light by his regional manager.

The filming of the challenge took place after his shift finished at 3pm, but he was only told of disciplinary proceedings against him on Tuesday, before his termination was made official on Wednesday by Care Facility Management.

Mr Hearn added: “One of the most disgusting things about it was I thought a bit of charity would be encouraged.”

One of his colleagues who was involved in the stunt, Thomas Turner, resigned in protest at Mr Hearn’s sacking.

Twenty-one-year-old Mr Turner, himself a father-of-one, was working as a cleaner when the challenge took place.

Mr Turner, from Brun Grove, South Shore, said: “Everybody else has been doing it and it’s for a good cause.

“Sacking somebody for doing something for charity is ridiculous.”

Mr Hearn’s bosses admitted the ice bucket challenge had led to the sacking.

Jim MacKinnon, Care Facility Management’s director, said: “This incident involving the ice bucket challenge within his working hours at the centre was a contributing factor. It was one of the reasons he did not meet our requirements for the role.”

Freeport Fleetwood centre manager, John Magee said: “We are fully supportive of members of staff who wish to get involved in charitable activity on our site and just last week another member of staff asked permission to perform her ice bucket challenge within the centre outside of working hours, which was fine.”

He decided with two colleagues to set up the challenge on Saturday, August 30, after he claims he was given approval by his regional manager.

Mr Hearn says filming of the challenge took place after his shift finished, with one colleague pouring water over his head while stood on low-level scaffolding.

He was told of disciplinary proceedings on Tuesday and his position terminated by Care Facility Management on Wednesday.

In a disciplinary document, seen by The Gazette, Mr Hearn was asked by bosses “why did you do the Ice Bucket Challenge in work time” before being informed dismantling of scaffolding was a “health and safety issue”. It was judged Mr Hearn “did not meet the required standard” during a 13-week probationary period.

A colleague of Mr Hearn who was involved in the challenge, Thomas Turner, resigned in protest.

Mr Turner, 21, from Brun Grove, South Shore, was working as a cleaner.

He said: “Sacking somebody for doing something for charity is ridiculous.”

Mr Hearn’s bosses confirmed the ice bucket challenge had led to the sacking.

Jim MacKinnon, Care

Facility Management’s

director, said: “This incident involving the ice bucket challenge within his working hours at the centre was a contributing factor. It was one of the reasons he did not meet our requirements for the role.”

Freeport Fleetwood centre manager John Magee said: “We are fully supportive of members of staff who wish to get involved in charitable activity on our site and just last week another member of staff asked permission to perform her ice bucket challenge within the centre outside of working hours, which was fine.”

The Ice Bucket Challenge was set up to raise funds and promote research in America into the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and in the UK in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.