A former primary school dinner lady from Essex appeared before an employment tribunal in Bury St Edmunds yesterday claiming unfair dismissal.
Carol Hill, 61, was sacked by C of E Great Tey Primary School, near Colchester, in September 2009 for 'breach of confidentiality' after she told a little girl's parents their daughter was being bullied.
Ms Hill says she dragged four boys away from Chloe David after discovering they had tied her to a chain-link fence and whipped her with a skipping rope.
Deborah Crabb, headmistress at the school, wrote to Chloe's parents Claire and Scott informing them their daughter had been 'hurt in a skipping rope incident', but did not say the injuries had been deliberately inflicted.
After Ms Hill disclosed what happened, she claims she was made a 'scapegoat' and sacked as part of a 'cover up'.
She also claims that she was not given a correct notice period and her rights to freedom of expression under European law were infringed.
The school disputes her claim.
Ms Crabb told the tribunal that the seven-year-old girl was not being bullied but taking part in an "inappropriate game".
The game -- "prisoners and guards" -- had "gone too far", said Ms Crabb. She said following the incident she had spoken to the boys, kept them inside for part of their lunch break, and their parents had been informed.
Chloe had "skipped off" after having a compress applied to her wrist and seemed happy after the incident.
She also said that Ms Hill had spoken to a local newspaper reporter after being suspended pending an investigation.
This action, allied to speaking to Chloe's parents outside school, meant that Ms Hill had breached more than one pupil's privacy and brought the school into disrepute. Accordingly, she said she recommended that governors dismiss Ms Hill for "gross misconduct"
The tribunal hearing continues.
- Sacked dinner lady was wrong about 'bullied' girl, headteacher tells tribunal (Guardian)
- Unfair dismissal law (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Unfair dismissal law news (The Solicitor)
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- Find an employment solicitor (Contact Law)