The Employment Court has upheld an unjustified dismissal claim from a teacher who was subject to two disciplinary committee hearings over the same allegations.

The first disciplinary committee enquired into the allegations against the teacher and decided to issue a final written warning.

The Board of Trustees then received legal advice that the first disciplinary committee had not been properly delegated its powers.  As a result a procedure was adopted to set up a second disciplinary committee to reinvestigate all of the allegations.  Following that investigation the second disciplinary committee decided to dismiss the teacher.

The Employment Court held that setting up the second disciplinary committee was not a step a fair and reasonable employer could have undertaken.  In addition the second disciplinary committee’s decision to dismiss for misconduct, that had originally been found to have only justified a final warning, was in itself unjustified.

The employee was awarded $25,000 compensation for the poor process followed plus lost wages.  No reinstatement was ordered because of the teacher’s behaviour, which made that not practicable or reasonable.

Alan Knowsley

Employment & Education Lawyer