A Byron Bay teacher has won a landmark case after it was found she was allergic to her school.
A Byron Bay teacher has won a landmark case after it was found she was allergic to her school. Photo: Claudia Baxter

Allergic teacher's sacking 'unjust'

A BYRON Bay school teacher is heading back to work after winning a landmark court case which arose when she was sacked because she was allergic to parts of the school.

Lesley Warren, the award-winning assistant principal of Byron Bay Public School, suffered bizarre medical ailments related to the school's environment.

An occupational therapist claimed Ms Warren also had such a severe balance problem she could not stand on one leg for more than two seconds.

The Industrial Relations Commission was told education chiefs were unable to move Ms Warren to another school because she could not drive a car for more than 15 minutes without becoming ill.

Due to her medical conditions she is unable to supervise children in a crowded playground, participate in ball games or engage in any sporting activities.

The commission heard Ms Warren also suffered from an allergic reaction to certain paints, glues and other substances.

Despite an outstanding employment history, including the Education Minister's Award for Quality Teaching and promotion to assistant principal, she was removed from Byron Bay Public School on medical grounds.

Evidence was given in the commission that principal Dean Files wrote to a school education director expressing fears that Ms Warren could die from her allergy.

After finding her dismissal was 'harsh, unreasonable and unjust', the commission ordered the department to reinstate her and pay her 11 months of back salary.

Ms Warren, 53, said yesterday: “I went through a chronic period of depression and anxiety. I feel like I was treated like a sex offender. My colleagues were fantastic in their support.” Ms Warren received a formal letter of dismissal on August 26 last year after the department decided Byron Bay Public School was 'unable to accommodate your medical restrictions'.

The commission found Ms Warren had been denied natural justice being dismissed without a chance to put her case.

SHOULD THE TEACHER HAVE BEEN DISMISSED?

Phone 6624 3266 or SMS 0428 264 948


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