Voice damage teacher Joyce Walters gets £156,000 payout

Joyce Walters Joyce Walters taught at an adult education class

An English teacher who suffered permanent damage to her vocal chords after being forced to raise her voice to be heard in class has been awarded a £156,000 payout.

Joyce Walters, 50, said the injuries had been caused by having to speak loudly over noise outside her classroom in Hillingdon, north-west London.

She reached the out of court settlement with her employers, Hillingdon Council.

The council said it was in the best interests of all to settle the claim.

The mother-of two developed nodules, discovered through surgery, on her vocal chords which she claims was due to constantly speaking loudly at Harlington Adult Education Centre.

Start Quote

I adored the classroom and miss it so much”

End Quote Joyce Walters

She underwent months of speech therapy, but said she can still only speak for a short period before her throat becomes sore and her voice becomes hoarse.

Mrs Walters said: "Teaching was my calling, I adored the classroom and miss it so much, but the problems with my voice make it impossible for me to ever go back."

She started working at the adult education centre in 2005 teaching English to foreign students, and had been given a classroom next to a courtyard used by schoolchildren during playtimes.

The teacher said that, as a result of the noise and disruption, she often had to repeat herself and raise her voice.

'No liability'

She took Hillingdon Council to a disability discrimination employment tribunal and was first awarded an out-of-court settlement of £11,000.

After then filing a separate personal injury claim a second settlement of £145,000 was agreed in July this year.

Jean Palmer, from Hillingdon Council, said: "Mrs Walters had brought employment claims and separate personal injury claims against the council, and had agreed to settle her employment claims last year without any admission of liability on the part of the council.

"The more recent settlement was made out of court and brings a close the claims made by Joyce Walters."

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