Crematorium Worker Fired After "Purposefully" Mixing the Remains of Dead Pets and Dropping Them on the Floor

Management believes his actions were deliberate.

A crematorium worker was fired for gross misconduct after it was discovered he was deliberately mixing the ashes of different pets and dropping them on the floor to hide them. An employment tribunal heard that Jack Hamilton's poor work performance could have caused "catastrophic'" reputational damage and a loss of license for the crematorium.

Failure to properly remove ashes from the cremator was not the only accusation made against Hamilton, who worked at the Grimsby Crematorium in Lincolnshire, UK, since 2019. Hamilton claimed unfair dismissal. Here's what the tribunal concluded.

1
Mixing Ashes

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According to management at Grimsby Crematorium (which handles both human and pet remains), the ashes of pets must be thoroughly removed before another pet is cremated, to prevent cross-contamination. Hamilton was allegedly not taking the time to do this, but was pushing the old ashes back, or letting them fall to the ground. 

2
Concealing Mistakes

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Management believes Hamilton knew exactly what he was doing. "The last pet cremation that had taken place had been undertaken by the claimant and what was viewed on that occasion was that remains had been pushed to the back of the cremator and that appeared to be deliberate to try and conceal them," the employment tribunal report stated.

3
Poor Performance

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Hamilton would also frequently turn up to work without his uniform, and would often be late, leading members of the public to believe the crematorium was closed when it should have been open, according to management. "The cremation log showed that Jack [the Claimant] had signed to undertake the last three cremations we had booked with us, the latest one being two weeks prior," Hamilton's manager said in his suspension risk assessment before the suspension. 

4
Dismissed From the Job

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"The accompanying paperwork (daily and weekly machine checks, and cleaning schedule) was not completed on any of the 3 occasions," the risk assessment statement continued. "Members of the team familiar with the operation of the pet cremator, but who were not using it, inferred that the ashes had been left in the machine from the first cremation Jack [the Claimant] undertook at the beginning of December." Hamilton was summarily dismissed after a disciplinary hearing was held by the local council on February 7, 2022.

5
Fair Reason for Dismissal

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Hamilton claimed unfair dismissal, but the tribunal did not agree. Employment Judge Elizabeth Heap says the tribunal was "satisfied that the respondent acted fairly and reasonably in treating the claimant's conduct as a fair reason for his dismissal."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more
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