Howells has secured an exceptional success for a Hull client who was deemed as unfairly dismissed and discriminated against at an Employment Tribunal.
The client of Howells, a 27 year old teacher and committed Christian from an Asian background was dismissed from the school he worked at for gross misconduct in February 2013.
The Employment Tribunal however found that he had been unfairly dismissed and that the school’s policies and procedures indirectly discriminated against him on the grounds of his race and his religion.
As part of the client’s culture, family play an important role in the forming of relationships with the advice and guidance of family members being of great importance. It is common for relationships to exist between men in their late twenties and younger women. The client entered into a relationship on the recommendation and with full support of both their families and their church with a female who was 16 years old, but not a pupil at his school.
As the relationship began to develop, the client informed the Head teacher at his own school for guidance and support, aware of the possible perception of the relationship, offering to put the relationship on hold until the girl was 18.
The result of this saw him being dismissed for gross misconduct, as the School relied on child protection policies and policies governing out-of-school conduct of teachers.
Following a lengthy and complicated Employment Tribunal claim, it was held by an Employment Tribunal Judge in Hull last month, that our client had been unfairly dismissed and that the school’s policies and procedures indirectly discriminated against him on the grounds of his race and his religion. The Judge also commented that the school’s actions infringed our client’s human right to respect for private and family life.
The school was seen to have taken a hard-line approach to this situation, adopting their policies in a very strict manner and failing to take account of the fundamental importance of our client’s nationality, culture and religion.
Our client commented that he and his family were delighted at the outcome of the case and said “thank you hugely to Tom Bernard and Howells for all the time, hard work, effort and enthusiasm you have put into my case.”
Tom Bernard, the solicitor who handled this case said, “I am delighted for our client that we were able to achieve such a positive outcome. This was a very complex case that underlines the importance of employers considering the wider context when handling issues such as this. Our client was in a lawful relationship and the school failed to give due consideration to his different culture and the strength of his religious belief.”
The case will be listed for a separate remedy hearing to determine what compensation should be awarded.