A lecturer who says she suffered “mental torture” while working at  Kirklees College has won her fight for justice.

And she has been awarded more than £78,000 after successfully pursuing a claim for unfair dismissal.

Janette Hirst, of Granny Hall Park, Brighouse, says she worked in the college’s electrical installation section for just over 12 years but the career she had worked so hard for slipped away from her following a change of management during the second half of 2010.

The 44-year-old said she was not the only member of the team who allegedly encountered an intimidating and bullying atmosphere.

In a written statement presented to an employment tribunal, she said: “I became increasingly unhappy with the Curriculum Team Leader’s unacceptable management style during 2011.

“In early January 2012 I was too ill to continue working and was absent for most of 2012 with work-related stress due to my leader’s intimidating behaviour.

“I became a shadow of my former self overnight.

“I didn’t want to leave the house. I couldn’t sleep and would not even answer the phone.”

 

Mrs Hirst, nee Castle, said she also suffered panic attacks and was diagnosed with depression due to her work situation.

She said that the college failed to follow its own grievance and investigation procedures and also made false accusations against her which “shocked her to the core.”

Eventually, she says that despite having worked for the college for a long time and possessing an impeccable work record” she was forced to hand her notice in.

Although she was not a member of a union she was determined to fight her corner and armed with a large amount of evidence took on the college.

She said: “I had no alternative but to hand in my notice and take them to an employment tribunal.

“I represented myself and cited constructive dismissal due to breach of contract and loss of mutual trust and confidence.

“The tribunal was due to last three days but Kirklees College’s barrister conceded liability for unfair dismissal on the second day of the hearing.

“I was awarded the equivalent of two and a half year’s salary and my two year nightmare had finally come to an end.”

She is now looking forward to starting a new job shortly.

Melanie Brooke, vice principal for corporate services: “This is the first time a tribunal judgement has been made against the college, and we have reviewed our employment procedures as a result.

“It is always regrettable when a situation arises between the college and a member of staff.”

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