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Dinner lady's two-year fight for justice
11:00am Tuesday 12th February 2013 in News
A DINNER lady sacked for telling a girl's parents how she had been hurt at school has won her two-year fight for justice.
Carol Hill was dismissed in 2009 after she told the girl’s parent about the incident while at a Beavers meeting, where she volunteered.
An employment tribunal in January 2011 finding Mrs Hill had been unfairly dismissed by Great Tey Primary School, a second hearing the following month decided to cut compensation because she had spoken to the Gazette.
But an employment appeal tribunal has found that decision was wrong.
“It has been a horrible ordeal but I feel a step closer to justice,” said Mrs Hill, 64, of Chappel Road, in Great Tey.
She added: “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 the principle I was fighting for, it was never about the money, although I am happy about the outcome now.”
Mrs Hill was initially suspended by Debbie Crabb, headteacher at the primary school, in July 2009, and was fired in August after speaking to The Gazette about her ordeal.
Mrs Hill added: “It is a real rollercoaster ride, one minute you’re up and the next you’re down.
“I am delighted with the outcome.”
A statement from Great Tey Primary School, in Chrismund Way, said: “An Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld Mrs Hill’s appeal into her compensation pay-out following dismissal from Great Tey Primary School.
"It does not change the outcome of the overall case, i.e. issues around liability, but the appeal tribunal has remitted the remedies aspect of it back to the original employment tribunal to reconsider its decision and reassess the amount originally awarded.”
Dave Prentis, General Secretary of public sector Unison, which represented Mrs Hill, added: “Carol has been put through a terrible ordeal by the school and lost a job she truly loved.
“The value of someone being free to speak out against injustice must be upheld and this decision by the employment appeal tribunal strengthens and clarifies this important principle.”
In 2011, Mrs Hill was awarded £302 in basic award compensation and initially given £50 in a separate compensation award, a figure which was cut by 80 per cent by a remedies hearing.
A new hearing, which may not take the previous compensation award into account, could decide how much Mrs Hill's total compensation will be.