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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Teacher in sex claim ‘paranoid’

A TEACHER has been accused of being “an extremely paranoid individual” after accusing a colleague of making a sexual pass at her.

The complainant told an employment tribunal in Southampton that the teacher, who was her induction tutor as a newly qualified teacher, said: “I love it when you smile, it turns me on”.

The alleged victim claimed sexual harassment and victimisation following the comment at a Bournemouth school.

The hearing made an order banning the identification of those involved until a judgement is announced.

The complainant told the tribunal that in November 2008 she was alone in her classroom when her then tutor came in and asked to speak in her office, where the comment was allegedly made. She alleged that when she lodged a grievance, colleagues ostracised her.

The complainant said: “It was becoming very clear that following my rebuffal (sic) of (the teacher’s) sexual pass, I was suffering detrimental treatment and would continue to do so.

“I faced hostility from members of the department and in some cases individuals were ignoring me.”

But the tutor said the allegation was an “outrageous lie” invented because the complainant was afraid she might not pass as a newly qualified teacher.

She said that her sexual orientation was widely known and the meeting was entirely professional, her office door was left ajar and another member of staff came in several times.

The complainant spoke to her students in a “derogatory” manner and had been the subject of several complaints from parents and pupils, said the tutor.

Andrew Browning, acting for Bournemouth council, accused the complainant of being “difficult to deal with” and “an extremely paranoid individual”.

He said: “I would suggest to the employment tribunal that this did not happen. I would suggest that the claimant was unhappy with the criticisms that were made against her in relation to how she dealt with pupils and she therefore used this allegation as a smokescreen.”

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