Home Office civil servant Dr Angelika Hibbett has sued the government for £1m after being sacked for claiming £390 for a course of meditation. She had previously claimed that she had suffered from “workplace stress and bullying”.

Hibbett, who was programme director at the Home Office’s crime and policing group’s research and analysis unit, said the treatment was necessary because of the depression she had experienced as a result of the stress at work.

She reckoned that the claim for the relaxation course had been approved automatically but paid the money back when told she could be charged with gross misconduct. She said she was then bullied further and was sacked while off on sick leave.

The crime and policing group’s director of finance and performance Stephen Webb said Hibbett’s claim for the course was insubordination and the department had bent over backwards to accommodate her.