Teacher wins race discrimination and unfair dismissal case after being removed from her Head of Year role

David Stephenson represented Mrs Catherine Burton-York, a teacher and Head of Year (HoY) at the Douay Martyrs Catholic Secondary School, who won her claim for race discrimination, harassment related to race and constructive dismissal.

The ET found that Mr Corish asked the Claimant to “relinquish“ her HoY duties and proposed restructuring the HoY role when she refused to step down. All five existing HoY had to reapply for their HoY roles. However, one candidate would have been eligible for early retirement the next academic year and did not apply. The four remaining candidates were interviewed. The ET found, amongst other things, that:

  • The interview panel did not prepare model answers in advance of the interviews.

  • There was no decision in advance of the process about what the pass/fail borderline would be.

  • Answers were weighted differently and

  • There were no notes of moderation meetings that took place to select the successful candidates.

Although there were four candidates for five HoY roles, the panel did not appoint the Claimant. Mr Corish did not provide any written feedback about what had led to being unsuccessful. Nor did he allow her the opportunity to work on whatever areas of weakness had been perceived and to reapply again for the two remaining vacant heads of year post.

The ET held that these acts and several negative references sent by Mr Corish constituted direct race discrimination entitling her to resign. The matter will be listed for remedy.

David was instructed by IBB Law. You can find a copy of the liability judgment here.