Kelly’s story

One lollipop lady’s quest for a fair chance

When Kelly saw an ad in the paper for a position as a lollipop lady, she knew it was perfect for her.

Sure enough, it was a job she loved—and the kids loved her back. Every year she received handmade cards and boxes of chocolate from parents and students.

Then, in October 2017, Kelly’s lung collapsed.

She rushed to the local hospital where she was admitted and treated. The doctor told Kelly not to go back to work immediately, and gave her a medical certificate. Kelly spent the next few days at home recovering.

“They were always there with me, every step of the way,”

Three weeks before Christmas, Kelly received a text from her employer asking her to come in for a meeting. No one told her why, and no one suggested bringing a support person.

Unknown to Kelly, her medical certificate had been processed incorrectly. She had been overpaid by three days. When she arrived at the office, she was accused of stealing wages and abandoning shifts.

When Kelly tried to explain the mistake, no one would believe her. She was told that she would no longer receive any shifts.

It was devastating. Aside from her three cats, seeing the kids every school day was one of the things she looked forward to every day.

She knew her employer hadn’t treated her right, so she asked the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service for help. They put her in touch with Justice Connect.

We connected her with lawyers working on a pro bono basis. “They were always there with me, every step of the way,” said Kelly.

The lawyers listened to Kelly and helped her build a strong case.

Along with having her concerns taken seriously, Kelly was able to find a resolution with her employer.

Kelly’s distress was rightfully acknowledged and compensated. With pro bono help, she was able to fight for a fairer and better outcome.