Four former social workers sacked for distributing an email containing a gag about convicted paedophile Gary Glitter have launched claims for unfair dismissal before an employment tribunal in Glasgow.
Jim Wilson, South Lanarkshire Council's head of adult and older people services, told the tribunal that he dismissed Deborah Reilly, Angela Nelson, Anne Lang and Rosemary Boyle in November 2008 after he discovered that they had emailed a picture of Glitter carrying a bag with a youngster inside "as you would do with whatever you collected from duty free."
At least nine council workers were suspended for "inappropriate use of the council's email system" following an investigation in late 2008, but only four were shown to have actually forwarded the picture.
Mr Wilson said that forwarding the email was "totally inappropriate particularly for someone involved in social care".
Three of the women worked at the council's Rutherglen office near Glasgow, while Ms Boyle worked in the social work department in Blantyre, Lanarkshire. They argue that the council overreacted in firing them.
Rather than make light of what Glitter did, the women claim that the image showing Glitter holding a bag with a superimposed child inside was "like putting him in the stocks and throwing eggs at him".
All four of them are expected to give evidence when the tribunal resumes later this year.
- South Lanarkshire staff challenge Gary Glitter sacking (BBC News)
- Unfair dismissal law (Findlaw.co.uk)
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