TEACHER WINS CASE OF INDIRECT RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST COUNCIL WHO DISMISSED HER FOR NOT LEAVING HER HUSBAND CONVICTED OF SEX OFFENCES
UNFAIR DISMISSAL &?DISCRIMINATION ON GROUNDS OF RELIGIOUS BELIEF
The Employment Appeal Tribunal finds in favour of the teacher who was dismissed based on the actions of her husband.
The Claimant was a long serving teacher with an unblemished record and her husband, a Head teacher at the same school.
Her husband was convicted of making indecent images of children and voyeurism and the Claimant was dismissed for failing to end the relationship with her husband.
The Claimant won an unfair dismissal claim as the School failed to show that the dismissal was for gross misconduct or another ?substantial reason?.
As the dismissal was based on a ?practice? of dismissing someone who had chosen not to end a relationship with a convicted sex offender, the Claimant brought a claim of alleged indirect religious discrimination in addition to her unfair dismissal claim in that her Christian faith meant that she regarded her marriage vows as sacrosanct.
The employment tribunal rejected that claim, but the EAT overturned the decision and substituted a finding of indirect religious discrimination.
The EAT held that on the facts, it was inevitable that the Claimant would be in a group (those holding a belief in the sanctity of marriage vows) that was put at a particular disadvantage by the School?s ?practice? of dismissing those in her situation, and there was no justification for the dismissal. The EAT noted that on these highly unusual facts, a ?practice? was established, and in the crisis of conscience that faced the Claimant (and others of similar beliefs) there was a ?particular disadvantage? hence unlawful discrimination.