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Nursery worker wins unfair dismissal claim despite teaching children to kick colleague

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton
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In Flynn v Tender Loving Child Care Centre Limited a nursery worker, Siobhan Flynn was fired after carer Laura McLauchlan complained about her. Miss Flynn was said to have taught kids how to kick while telling them ‘kick Laura, kick Laura’ and throughout the day repeatedly encouraged them to say ‘smelly Laura’.

She also said that Flynn had made remarks about her personal life and relationships, had called her “gay” while discussing football and said she was a “Hun” – a Scottish slur used towards Protestants and fans of the Rangers football team.

Ms McLauchlan, an experienced early years nursery worker, claimed that Miss Flynn ‘was annoyed that one of the children could say my name first’. Flynn denied encouraging the children to kick McLauchlan and call her names, and said she was “lying”.

Flynn was invited to a disciplinary meeting. Following the meeting Flynn was dismissed for misconduct. In dismissing Miss Flynn – who worked at Tender Loving Childcare in Glasgow for 11 years – director Mary Deighan claimed her behaviour was ‘sadistic’.

However, an employment tribunal in Scotland has now ruled that Miss Flynn was unfairly dismissed as a reasonable investigation was not carried out.

Flynn was awarded £16,984.30 in compensation, but this was reduced by 75 per cent to  £4,246.08 as it was likely she would have been dismissed in any event had a fair process been followed.

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