A mum has blasted Vodafone as 'inhuman' after she was allegedly sacked for taking too much time off work – while holding a bedside vigil for her three-year-old daughter on life support.
Kelly Credland was worried sick when her daughter Rhi was admitted to Lincoln County Hospital A&E last month, after her throat closed due to a complication caused by common childhood condition croup.
The mum was forced to take six days off work when Rhi was rushed to a different hospital's paediatric intensive care unit an hour's drive away, where she was intubated and placed on life support.
"When the doctors looked down her throat it had closed up, they said they needed to get her into theatre immediately,” said Kelly.
"They let me go to the room with her as she went asleep, afterwards I ran out of the room and I broke down hysterical.
"When she was out of theatre she had a machine breathing for her. Her eyes were taped closed, she was hooked up to lots of wires, heart monitors and she had two cannulas on her foot and hand.
"I just wanted to get on the bed with her and cuddle her."
Kelly’s vigil at Rhi’s bedside capped off a few horror health months for her family.
The mum-of-two was hospitalised and quarantined for four days with suspected meningitis in July, and was forced to take time off during Vodafone customer service training back.
She also took a few days off after catching a stomach bug in September
After returning to work once her daughter was safely back home, Kelly was horrified to learn her position as customer advisor at mobile phone giant Vodafone was terminated after she was frogmarched into a meeting.
"A manager started reading off a piece of paper with no emotion pretty much telling me ‘You've had so many days off – we're terminating your contract today'.
"I couldn't believe it. I took the pass from round my neck really calmly and was then taken to my locker while all my team mates watched – it was so humiliating.
"I was followed out of the building where the manager who had just fired me wished me all the best.
"I got in my car and drove home, it took me about 24 hours to realise what had happened.
"I cried a lot, I felt like such a fool – I'd done nothing wrong.”
"It escalated straight away because I was in probation after taking sick leave."
Kelly said that given the extreme circumstances she faced, she wishes the situation could have been handled differently.
"Doctors told me that if she hadn't been taken to A&E when she was, she would have died as her throat was closing up every second, that's how serious it was,” she said.
"If only they'd had a bit of compassion – I was good at my job.
"I'm disgusted at the way I was treated, there was no humanity. I was treated like a no-one."
Vodafone deny the contract termination was connected to absences caused by Rhi's ill health and says she was supported during her employment.
"The termination of Ms Credland's contract was in no way connected to absences caused by her daughter's ill health or her own,” a spokesperson said.
"We always make every effort to support our employees when they most need it as we did in this case.
"As a matter of policy, we are not able to discuss the reasons behind this decision."
- Additional reporting by Caters News.