Bullying claim Essex dinner lady challenges her sacking

Sacked dinner lady Carol Hill says she loved her job and wants it back

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A dinner lady who was sacked after she told a parent his daughter had been bullied at a school in Essex, has started a claim for unfair dismissal.

Carol Hill worked at Great Tey Primary School, near Colchester, and was sacked for a breach of confidentiality.

An employment tribunal in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, heard that Mrs Hill, who lives near the school, had been dismissed for "gross misconduct".

She said she was wrongly sacked in September 2009.

Mrs Hill also argued she was not given a correct notice period and her rights to freedom of expression under European law were infringed.

'Inappropriate game'

The school disputes her claim.

Head teacher Deborah Crabb told the hearing that the seven-year-old girl was not being bullied but "taking part in an inappropriate game which had gone too far".

Mrs Crabb told the tribunal that Mrs Hill had spoken outside school about an incident involving a pupil.

The dinner lady told the girl's parents that their child had been "bullied", she said.

She then spoke to a local newspaper reporter after being suspended pending an investigation.

Mrs Crabb said she had been aware of a playground incident and had dealt with a number of boys involved.

Tied to fence

She said the boys had been spoken to, missed a part of their lunch break and their parents had been informed.

Mrs Crabb said a member of staff had found the girl tied to a fence with a skipping rope.

The boys had said they were playing a game called "prisoners and guards" and the girl was playing the part of a dog.

Mrs Crabb said the girl "skipped off" after having a compress applied to her wrist and seemed happy.

Mrs Crabb said that, by speaking to parents outside school, Mrs Hill was guilty of a breach of confidence and had brought the school into disrepute.

She said she had recommended that governors dismiss her for "gross misconduct".

The tribunal hearing continues.

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