An Ayrshire support worker has been warned after she was found to have coerced a service user into buying her a Chinese takeaway.
Toyin Orr was employed by The Richmond Fellowship Scotland Ltd as a sessional support worker when the incidents occurred in 2019.
She was accused of misconduct over a series of incidents throughout the year against one service user, dubbed AA to protect his anonymity.
A meeting of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) heard that, on or around April 15, Ms Orr had coerced AA to buy her a meal, stating “I will take you for a Chinese only if you buy my dinner too”, or words to that effect.
Additionally, she accused AA of making her “lose my career of over 15 years in care”, when he told another carer, BB, about items he had gifted to Ms Orr.
She also intimated “worries” over money to AA, complaining about the tax she had to pay and discussed personal matters surrounding their second job as a cleaner.
Overall, the SSSC found that Ms Orr’s fitness to practise is impaired.
It said that there was a duty on social service workers to “use responsibly the power and authority they have when working with people who use services”.
It continued: “Your words to AA suggested he would not get Chinese food unless he bought you a meal. You misused your position as a social service worker to make AA buy you food.
“People who use services may feel compromised in their ability to object to something they are not comfortable with because of the power imbalance that often exists between them and social service workers.”
The hearing also found that, while the gifts AA had given Ms Orr did not break any rules (as they were pre-used and low-value, according to AA), she did imply to him that if she lost her career over an investigation, it would be his fault.
The SSSC said: “This was inappropriate and inaccurate and risked causing emotional harm to AA.
“This may have caused AA to feel that he had to conceal anything that made him feel uncomfortable in terms of your practise or behaviour.”
It found that she had breached boundaries with AA, a move which can create unrealistic expectations and confuse a professional relationship.
“Your behaviour had the potential to cause AA to be unclear about what to expect from relationships with social service workers and could negatively affect his interaction with them and trust in them,” the SSSC said.
Since her behaviour appeared to be motivated by poor judgement rather than malicious intent, and she had shown remorse and insight, a nine-month warning has been placed on her registration.
STV News has approached The Richmond Trust Scotland Ltd for a comment.