A very important case that tested the ability of a school and a local authority to apply policies designed to ensure the safeguarding of children.
The claim was brought by a teacher of 11-18 year-old children alleging indirect race discrimination, discrimination on grounds of religion and/or belief and unfair dismissal after he was dismissed for having a relationship with a 16 year old girl. The girl was not a pupil at the same school but was a member of the Youth Group at the same church where the Claimant was Youth Group leader. He was therefore in a position of trust in relation to the girl but it was not alleged that any sexual activity had taken place. His claim for discrimination on grounds of religion and/or belief was based on his devout Christian beliefs (and that of the girl) because neither would contemplate sex before marriage.
The claims succeeded at first instance but were successfully appealed to the EAT. The claim in relation to religion/belief was dismissed and the issue of whether the PCP applied by the Council and the Governors was a proportionate means of achieving the agreed legitimate aim of protecting children was remitted to a different Tribunal. The unfair dismissal claim was also remitted.
Following a rehearing before the new tribunal the application of the PCP was held to be proportionate and all the Claimant's remaining claims were dismissed.
You can download a copy of the Judgement here.
Winckworth Sherwood in conversation with Kings Chambers
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