HEREFORDSHIRE Council has said it will fight a ruling that a "vindictive and intimidating" headteacher discriminated against a teacher with a brain tumour.

An employment tribunal found that the Hereford primary school's headteacher wanted to sack a colleague who had just returned to work after having chemotherapy for the incurable tumour.

Emma Shearer, headteacher at Riverside Primary School in Belmont Avenue, was called "vindictive and intimidating" towards Rachael Davies, the teacher diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour at the age of 30.

The tribunal found that Mrs Davies "was threatened with the potential of dismissal" through her capability because of "concerns about her inability to properly cope with key stage one, including her memory loss and coping strategies".

The teacher eventually resigned after her confidence in the school and its head was "completely destroyed" and her health and career had been damaged.

Claims of disability discrimination, failure to make adjustments, harassment related to disability, constructive unfair dismissal and victimisation all succeeded.

A remedy hearing to decide upon compensation will be held in due course, documents about the employment tribunal with the school and Herefordshire Council said.

Herefordshire Council, as local authority, has responded to the ruling and said it will appeal.

In a brief statement, a spokesperson said: "The decision of the employment tribunal has been appealed to the employment appeal tribunal.

"No further comment will be made at this time."

The tribunal also found that regarding sick leave, Mrs Shearer had been "unnecessary, vindictive and intimidating", with Mrs Davies' condition incurable and resulting in a life expectancy of an average of eight years.

Mrs Davies was not allowed to return to the same job that she was doing before her ill heath, and Mrs Shearer also suggested she seek ill-health retirement, but this was rejected.

"The tribunal finds, contrary to the respondent’s case that the headteacher was simply providing options to the claimant, the headteacher considered that the claimant was simply not up to the job and should take ill-health retirement," the report said.

"The tribunal finds corroborative evidence to this finding in the evidence of Liz Mason who told the tribunal that she had been directly told by colleagues that the headteacher wanted the claimant out."

There were also concerns over Mrs Davies's phonic knowledge and ability to spell, but with little evidence from the school.

The headteacher was then "surprised" when Mrs Davies was signed off for two months, but the tribunal said the comments were "unnecessary, vindictive and intimidating".

The tribunal, held in Birmingham in September, heard Mrs Davies was said to be “terrified of walking in the door" of the school and suffered from shock, anxiety, depression, anger that she had not been permitted time to fully recover from brain surgery, and lack of confidence.

In March 2020, she lodged a formal complaint about how she had been treated, and in July 2020 resigned.