Employment Cases Update

Governing Body of Tywyn Primary School v Aplin UKEAT/0298/17/LA

Date published: 28/03/2019

Appeal against the ET’s decisions that the Claimant was unfairly constructively dismissed from his post and that he was discriminated against by the investigating officer. Appeal dismissed, but the Claimant’s cross-appeal was allowed to the extent that it related to the School Governors.

The Claimant, who was openly gay, was employed as a Head Teacher by the Respondent. Disciplinary proceedings in respect of a matter in his private life were brought against him, which were conducted by an investigating officer (who worked for the local authority) in a manner which, the ET accepted, was "far from objective". The disciplinary hearing by the school management, involving the Governors, was heavily influenced by the investigating officer's report, and it recommended that the Claimant should be dismissed with immediate effect. The Claimant brought claims before the ET of unfair constructive dismissal (since, contractually, he could not be dismissed until he had had an opportunity to appeal, so he had resigned) and discrimination on the basis that the investigating officer's report and the management hearing were biased and homophobic. The ET upheld the claims of unfair constructive dismissal and discrimination, and the Respondent appealed; in addition, the Claimant cross-appealed against the ET's findings that there were adequate non-discriminatory explanations for the conduct of the Governors.

The EAT held that the Respondent's appeal on constructive dismissal and discrimination could not succeed, but it allowed the Claimant's cross-appeal on the basis that the ET did not properly scrutinise the position of the Governors or give sufficient reasons for saying that they had discharged the burden of proof in relation to discrimination. The case would be remitted to the same ET for reconsideration.

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Read the full text of the judgment on BAILII or download the file by clicking the link below.

Employment Claims without a Lawyer 2nd edition published March 2018