Payout for teacher dismissed after developing life-threatening asthma

Teaching union NASUWT said the teacher suffered repeated asthma attacks after her classroom was redecorated. Credit: PA

A teacher from Wales who was dismissed by her school after developing life-threatening asthma has received thousands of pounds in compensation.

Teaching union NASUWT said the drama teacher developed the condition after her classroom was redecorated which led to problems including mould growing on the walls and a crack in the floor.

As the school term continued, she began to experience headaches, couching, wheezing and a runny nose.

Soon after, she suffered an asthma attack and was taken to hospital where she was diagnosed with late onset asthma. Her condition was attributed to her working conditions at the school.

Paramedics were called multiple times after the initial incident and the teacher was again taken to hospital following repeated asthma attacks and acute respiratory difficulties.

The union said that while the teacher's asthma and an unrelated operation in late 2018 led to absences from work, by 2019 she was dismissed.

The union succeeded in bringing claims for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

Almost £80,000 was secured for the teacher in compensation by the union.

The NASUWT said cases like these are likely to represent only "the tip of the iceberg". Credit: PA

'These cases are only likely to represent the tip of the iceberg'

In total, the NASUWT says it has secured £15 million in compensation following incidences such as unfair dismissal, discrimination and bullying.

Other successful claims included issues such as performance management, trade union-related detriment, contractual disputes, health and safety, personal injury and unlawful deductions from wages.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said: "While compensation is recognition of the personal, and in some cases, financial loss that members have suffered, it can never make up for the impact which unfair treatment, discrimination and physical injuries have on individuals.

"The money awarded cannot compensate for the emotional, physical and mental distress members have experienced and the fact that for some, their experiences have left them unable to continue working in teaching."

Dr Roach said these cases are likely to "represent the tip of the iceberg".

"There is no doubt that many other teachers will have been driven out of the profession without proper redress for poor, discriminatory or unfair treatment because they were too fearful to come forward or believed nothing could be done.

"The NASUWT will continue to take all steps necessary to support our members in ensuring they are treated fairly at work and to underline to employers that they are not above the law."