Teacher’s refusal to end her relationship with a convicted sex offender was not a fair reason to dismiss her
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (the EAT) has held that it was indirect religious discrimination to dismiss a teacher for refusing to leave her husband after his conviction for sex offences. The EAT upheld the Claimant’s appeal against the dismissal of her claim for indirect religious discrimination.
The teacher who had worked for many years, with an unblemished service record, refused to end her relationship with her husband when he was convicted of making indecent images of children and voyeurism. The school dismissed her for refusing to end her relationship.
The EAT decided that, on the facts of this case, a “practice” was established. The court held that, the Claimant was in a group who held a belief in the sanctity of marriage vows and that, as such, the school’s “practice” of dismissing those in her situation, was discriminatory. The EAT found that the discrimination on these grounds was not justified.
The case is likely to be of interest to employers who work with children and vulnerable adults and who have to make difficult decisions, in the interest of safeguarding.
It is likely that cases such as these, will turn on their own individual facts and employers are advised to always take specific legal advice when making these difficult decisions.