Teacher loses appeal after alleged sexual harassment

A THEODORE State school teacher has lost a legal case for workers compensation after she claimed a father of one of her students sexually harassed and bullied her.

In a judgment published online last week, Queensland Industrial Relations Commission deputy president Les Kaufman dismissed teacher Joanne Stoddart's appeal and said the original decision to not award her compensation was correct.

Mrs Stoddart was employed as a probationary teacher at the small school of about 100 students and 15 to 20 teachers, the judgment said.

In 2013 she said the man acted inappropriately when he would visit the classroom to drop his child off which caused Mrs Stoddart anxiety and stress.

Mr Kaufman's judgment said Mrs Stoddart claimed the man would show up at the classroom and watch her teaching without her permission, invaded her privacy, lifted his shirt and put his hands down his shorts and scratched himself in front of her on one occasion and was aggressive, dominating and loud in a parent/teacher interview.

She also said he once entered her classroom after school, pulled up a chair, spread his legs and asked her if she was aware he had a split in his shorts.

Mr Kaufman said Mrs Stoddart was concerned about her probation and felt unsafe around the school grounds.

But in his judgment Mr Kaufman said the man denied being aggressive and denied sitting with his legs spread in her classroom.

Both sides gave evidence during the trial and Mr Kaufman said he preferred the man's evidence. He said he was not satisfied in how Mrs Stoddart had portrayed events.

He said her claims that the man was a pedophile were "wild and unsubstantiated allegations" which caused him to have concerns about her evidence.

Mr Kaufman dismissed her appeal.

- APN NEWSDESK


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