A VET who failed to respond to a claim against her by a disgruntled former employee has been ordered to pay nearly £10,000.

Sue Mulvey, the director of the Cornyard Veterinary Centre, did not reply to Felicity Jones after the latter had filed her lawsuit.

Her refusal to communicate forced employment judges to make a default decision in October in favour of Miss Jones.

At a tribunal on Friday, which the vet also failed to attend, a judge revealed how much Miss Mulvey must pay her ex-employee.

Miss Jones, who had worked at the practice, in Corn Street, Witney, for three years, had left amid a row over pay and her boss’ attitude towards her staff.

She had joined as a receptionist before also taking on the role of veterinary assistant.

Judge Brian Mitchell confirmed that Miss Jones had filed her claim in September, before asking her: “Have you had anything from them at all since September?”

“No,” she replied.

The judge asked if she had any idea why the vet centre had not answered, to which she said she had not.

He then stated: “Because they hadn’t answered we entered what we call a default judgement.

“Because they had not replied, you won.”

He calculated she should receive a basic award of £840, with a further compensatory award of £8,968, making a total of £9,808.

Miss Jones, who lives in Bletchingdon, near Bicester, said she had failed to find work since leaving her job in July.

“I’m trying to find something in the vet nurse area but nobody’s looking for an unqualified vet nurse,” she said.

“I’m looking for anything in animal care in the area. The only job I found was between 3am and 7am and because I live in a little village and don’t drive I can’t get to them.”

The judge asked whether she had been getting state benefit and when she replied that she had not, he asked: “Why not?”

She said: “Good question.

“I didn’t know I could. Also I didn’t think I would be out of work for so long and I don’t like claiming if I don’t have to.”

Judge Mitchell, hearing the claim for unfair dismissal in Reading, said: “The claimant has not managed to find alternative employment in relation to another job that concerns animals.

“She is somewhat disadvantaged in that she lives in a village and is unable to drive to work.

“I’m content she has tried to find other jobs.”

He said he had told her, and she accepted, that she would also have to look for other jobs not involving animals and he expected her to have done that within the next 12 weeks.

Following the award, Miss Jones dropped a further claim for non-payment of overtime.