A reporter for Newsquest's North London titles has resigned after being “threatened with disciplinary procedures” for taking a terminally ill relative to hospital on company time.
John Toner handed in his resignation directly to Newsquest's group editor Tim Jones, before tweeting an image of the resignation letter to nearly 1,800 followers.
He said he was "threatened with disciplinary procedures" after failing to meet the required quota of six stories a day while working remotely from hospital. He said he filed five stories.
In it, he explained the series of events which led to his resignation, and was fiercely critical of the way that the paper's management team handled the situation
He said he was the only person able to take his grandmother to a hospital appointment and that he had no choice.
In his resignation letter to Jones he said: “You have ignored this and pursued me as if I were someone lolling about on company time when I have been doing what I can to help my grandmother live out the remainder of her life in as much comfort as possible.”
He added: “It is with a huge amount of sadness that I leave this role as I have loved it. I dreamed of doing this job whilst I was training to be a journalist and it as a great shame I have had to leave it.”
Toner, who worked in construction before becoming a journalist, told Press Gazette: “The construction industry can be a very tough game at times, but when I’ve experienced this sort of thing before with other people – or if I’ve been in this position beforehand – I’ve always found employers to… take a human approach and try and work around the situation.
He added: “I think it’s a terrible shame. I said in the letter, I really enjoyed the job, I loved the job… I live in Haringey, I was brought up here.”
“I feel really sad that it’s come to this but I felt that I had no other option.”
Jones said: "The resignation letter of 16th July 2015, from John Toner, reporter, displays clear misrepresentation of the facts and is only one side of the story.
"Newsquest London (North London) is a fair and reasonable employer and we are fully aware of our responsibilities to our employees. It is a shame that John has resigned in this way and has not spoken to the company constructively about the situation.
"We cannot comment fully on this matter due to our responsibilities under the Data Protection Act, but can confirm that we always follow our company procedures, and that these have been applied in John Toner’s case."