Human Rights Review Tribunal HRRT No. 046/11  NZHRRT 7 (28 March 2012)
A disability services provider who left a severely disabled man in her care shut in the back of a van that was found parked in the driveway of her home agreed to pay him $5,000 compensation. The payment for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings forms part of the orders made by the Human Rights Review Tribunal in a case brought by the Director of Health and Disability Proceedings.
A neighbour of Jie (Grace) Zhu in Albany called the police because she was concerned for the disabled man (whose name has been suppressed). The neighbour had returned home at approximately 1.45pm on 21 August 2009 to find the disabled man sitting in the van unattended in Ms Zhu's driveway. At 2.37pm police found the man still sitting in the van, the inside of which they described as "warm and stuffy". The man, who is unable to communicate verbally, was squirming around in his wheelchair and looked uncomfortable. His tracksuit pants were wet from his upper right leg down to his ankle. A short time later, Ms Zhu emerged from her house and said the van had only been parked in the driveway ten minutes earlier. However, the Tribunal's decision records that Ms Zhu has since accepted that she engaged in a diversion to her home that was unauthorised by her employer and was not related to providing disability services to the man in the back of the van. She accepted that she failed to have regard to his welfare and/or failed to provide him with adequate support when she left him alone sitting in the van for at least 45 minutes.
The Tribunal made a declaration that Ms Zhu breached the rights of the man she was caring for by failing to provide services with reasonable care and skill, failing to provide services in a manner which complied with legal, professional and ethical standards, and failing to provide services in a manner consistent with his needs.
Full details of the decision are available at:
Last reviewed February 2019