A dinner lady sacked after telling a young girl’s parents about a cruel bullying incident at a primary school has won a two-year battle for compensation.
Carol Hill, 61, went to the aid of the seven year-old when she was tied to a fence and whipped with a skipping rope by four boys.
Later that day she bumped into the youngster’s parents and asked them how she was, assuming they had been told about the incident.
But the little girl – who had rope burns on her wrist and red welts on her thigh – had been sent home with a note only saying she had been hurt in a ‘skipping rope incident’.
Shocked Carol then found herself suspended from Great Tey Primary School in Colchester, Essex for telling the parents.
And when she spoke to the press about her suspension headteacher Debbie Crabb sacked her for breach of confidentiality.
Carol won an unfair dismissal case an employment tribunal in January 2011 – but her compensation was cut at a second hearing because she spoke to the press.
But an employment tribunal appeal has now ruled that cutting her compensation was wrong.
Carol, from Great Tey, will now get at least £600, but could get more pending a further hearing.
She said: “It’s been a horrible ordeal but I feel a step closer to justice.
“I was never doing it for the money, I was doing it because I believe what I did was right.
“I was getting blamed for doing something I truly believed was right.
“It’s the principle I was fighting for, it was never about the money, although I am happy about the outcome now.”
Carol now works as a cleaner and added: “I loved that job, I would definitely still be doing it if this had not happened.
“At the time I lost weight and my hair thinned because of the stress.
“The worst part was not being at the school any more. Not because of the money – but because of the job itself.
“I love kids and to be taken away from them like I was some sort of criminal was heartbreaking.
“I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I lost weight, I snapped at people, I suffered high blood pressure, but now I feel vindicated and can hold my head up high again.
“I know I couldn’t have lived with myself having seen what I saw and keeping quiet.
“It was important for me to fight for my job, even though I earned only £125 a month, because I thought I was right.
“What mother wouldn’t want to know that their child had been tied up and whipped with a skipping rope?”
A statement from Great Tey Primary School said: “The employment appeal tribunal upheld Mrs Hill’s appeal into her compensation payout following dismissal.
“It does not change the outcome of the overall case but there may need to be a further liabilities hearing at an employment tribunal to reassess the amount originally awarded.”