A teaching assistant has won a £16,000 payout after being fired over claims she swore in the school playground and posted ‘inappropriate’ photos on Facebook.
Mother-of-two Paula Williams was sacked from Bridgtown Primary School in Cannock amid allegations that she also used the phrase ‘sexy beast’ to a child and took a book called ‘I Shot My Daddy’ on a trip.
But the 45-year-old complained she had been unfairly dismissed at an employment tribunal.
Bridgtown headteacher Joanna Raybould told the tribunal Miss Williams was dismissed after allegedly using the F-word among children in the playground, and posting ‘inappropriate images’ on Facebook.
The hearing was told an anonymous letter was sent to the school containing the allegations and that school governors dismissed Miss Williams following a recommendation from the headteacher.
In a statement, Mrs Raybould said Miss Williams, of Foster Avenue, Hednesford, had affected the ‘whole atmosphere at the school’. But the teaching assistant hit back, accusing Mrs Raybould of failing to approach her about the allegations.
She denied swearing or being responsible for the Facebook images which related to a fancy dress costume. She said the phrase ‘sexy beast’ had been used by a child.
Tribunal chairman David Ansti concluded the school failed to give Miss Williams adequate guidelines on what language she could use at work and failed to verify the allegations. He added that no computer policy had been breached.
Miss Taylor, who has worked at the school for the past 20 years including five as a volunteer, today told the Express & Star she was elated by the decision.
She said: “It’s been a long time coming. I am absolutely elated. When I was dismissed I felt numb and horrified by everything.
“I just think it could have been dealt with a lot better. they could have just asked me. How do you know you have done something wrong unless somebody tells you?”
The tribunal ruled the school and Staffordshire County Council had acted unfairly in dismissing her and failed to investigate properly.
Miss Williams, who was sacked on May 3 last year, was awarded a total of £16,437.79. But Mr Ansti said it would not be appropriate to order her to be reinstated.