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Whistleblower wins unfair sacking case

Whistleblower wins unfair sacking case

A primary school playground monitor sacked after telling a couple how their seven-year-old daughter had been tied to a fence and hit with a skipping rope by other children has won her claim for unfair dismissal.

Carol Hill, who is in her early 60s and comes from Great Tey, Essex, was suspended from Great Tey Primary School following the incident in June 2009, an employment tribunal in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, heard in November 2010.

She told a local newspaper of her suspension and was then dismissed by governors the following September.

Mrs Hill claimed she was unfairly dismissed and said there had not been a "proper, fair and reasonable" investigation.

She argued that she was not given a correct notice period and complained that her rights to freedom of expression under European law were infringed.

The school disputed her claim for unfair dismissal.

A three-strong tribunal panel reserved judgment following a three-day hearing.

The tribunal heard that the girl appeared to have been tied to a playing field fence by her wrist and then "whipped" across the legs with a skipping rope by a number of boys.

School head Deborah Crabb said four boys involved had explained that they were playing a game called "prisoners and guards"". She said the incident was not bullying but an "inappropriate game" which went too far.

Mrs Crabb told the panel that Mrs Hill was sacked for committing the "offence" of "going to the press".

Mrs Hill's decision to give details of the incident to the child's parents was a breach of confidentiality which would have earned her a "final warning", said Mrs Crabb.

But by "talking" to a journalist, Mrs Hill brought the school into disrepute and had to be dismissed, she added.

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