A PART time nursery assistant who claimed she was forced to leave after bosses refused to probe her child abuse allegations has lost her claim for constructive dismissal.
Patricia Banks, 47, had claimed a fellow assistant dragged a frightened two-year-old boy into a room before forcing him to the floor and another shouted at toddlers.
The alleged incident happened at a crèche that was run at Farnham College.
Mrs Banks, of Greengage Cottage, Bethel Close, Farnham, was employed at the Busy Bears Crèche from October 2000 until she quit in August last year, the Croydon Employment Tribunal was told.
She said her reputation was destroyed by the management’s refusal to investigate her serious complaints relating to young children.
Mrs Banks told the hearing. “In early February last year at the end of the day Aisha Hurst walked angrily into the room dragging a two-year-old behind her, forced him on to the floor and crossed his legs and arms like a straight jacket across his body. He was white and shocked.”
Mrs Banks complained to manager Sue Stringer, who simply replied: “He has been a bugger all week.”
Another assistant, Claire Nash, was not skilled at looking after the kids, claimed Mrs Banks, saying a baby was shouted at in the baby room.
“I could not condone such abuse but by the end of the day nothing had been done to resolve the situation.”
Mrs Banks told the hearing she felt victimised by acting in the best interests of the children and being concerned for their welfare.
“No investigation seems to have taken place. I feel my concerns were totally ignored.”
She left work with a stress-related illness and claimed a nurse recommended she took a course of antidepressants.
“I was completely stressed, very, very unwell, crying all the time.”
Later an employment lawyer urged Mrs Banks to lodge an official complaint into the alleged child abuse at the crèche.
However, following an investigation by social services and Ofsted no further action was taken.
But Mrs Banks insisted the management should have taken earlier action, adding: “They did not take any notice of the child abuse incidents which I was quite shocked about.”
She is now employed by the ABC Kindergarten in Farnham.
Busy Bears manager Sue Stringer told the tribunal Mrs Banks failed to voice concerns about alleged child abuse at the time the incidents were said to have occurred.
“She did not raise any issue about child abuse or how children were being treated,” said Mrs Stringer.
She did remember Mrs Banks complaining about a two year old being dragged, but stressed this was not put as abuse.
“Patricia just said she was not happy about the way a child was treated,” added Mrs Stringer.
“I did not see the child violently manhandled and Patricia did not say she saw the child violently manhandled. It was not brought to me as abuse.”
And other staff claimed they were victims of bullying and harassment by Mrs Banks with one assistant complaining her position was undermined by a whispering campaign behind her back.
Tribunal chairman Derek Booth announced that Mrs Banks had failed to show the “trust and confidence” between her and Farnham College had
been breached by the employers and her case for constructive dismissal was dismissed.
“The applicant has failed by a million miles to prove any breach of the rule,” he added.