A nursery worker was sacked by Fife Council for raising child welfare concerns, a tribunal has ruled.
Diane Aitken was dismissed from Newburgh Primary in October last year after blowing the whistle on colleagues.
She said she was ostracised by co-workers after she reported concerns to the Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Social Services Council.
Mrs Aitken claimed an injury suffered by a child while unsupervised was covered up and that children were having to change in an unheated area of the nursery.
A tribunal heard the school head teacher warned her she would be in “deep trouble” if her manager discovered it was her who had gone to the watchdog.
Mrs Aitken, who said she had to “point out poor practice where she saw it”, felt the head teacher came to view her as a “nuisance” and a “troublemaker”.
The tribunal heard she was sacked by the council on grounds of ill health after going off sick with depression following treatment for skin cancer in 2015.
A decision was made that she could not return to her role at Newburgh Primary School and she was unable to take up similar posts at other Fife schools due to transport issues.
However, Employment Tribunals judge Ian McFatridge has now found Mrs Aitken was unfairly dismissed on account of making protected disclosures and that she suffered disability discrimination.
He said: “It appeared to be absolutely clear to the tribunal that the decision to refuse to allow the claimant to return to her role at Newburgh Primary School was due to the fact that she made a protected disclosure.”
He also said Mrs Aitken’s disability, long term depression and anxiety, “arose at least in part from her work-related issues”, and caused her to be absent from work and eventually dismissed.
The tribunal heard relationships had broken down in the nursery and Mrs Aitken, who had worked there as an early years officer since around 2008, was singled out by a “clique” of four co-workers.
Her colleagues lodged a grievance against her, claiming she was a “poisonous terrifying person”, and all went off sick when she raised a grievance against them, leaving her and one other person to look after 20 children.
Sharon McKenzie, the council’s head of human resources, said: “As a responsible employer Fife Council does not discuss the individual details of any employees, either current or former.
“We are considering the judgement and it would be inappropriate to make further comment at this time.
“However, I would provide reassurance that any other appropriate actions have been taken.”