ATL - Girls' school slated for sacking pregnant teacher
7 June 2012
A teacher at independent girls' school, Howell's School in Denbigh, North Wales, who was sacked when she became pregnant, has won her case against unfair dismissal after the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) took it up.
The judge at Shrewsbury employment tribunal ruled that Howell's School was guilty of unfair dismissal under Section 99 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, when they dismissed Rebecca Raven in July 2011 after she became pregnant. The tribunal also said the school had discriminated against her under the Equality Act 2010.
Mrs Raven was sacked from her £23,295 a year job a few days after telling the school she was pregnant. When she applied for maternity leave in May 2011, which should have started at the end of November 2011, the school told her she would have to leave at the end of the summer term.
The school then told her that she could apply for a part-time post as an art teacher, starting in Sep 2011, but when she applied for the job she was not appointed. Mrs Raven appealed and put in a grievance, but the school failed to respond.
Mrs Raven had worked for the school since October 2008, first on a part-time basis as a house mistress, and from November 2009 as a full-time art teacher.
Dr Philip Dixon, Director of ATL Cymru, said: "The supreme irony of a girls' school dismissing a teacher when she became pregnant almost beggars belief. This is an appalling example to give to pupils who are, hopefully, being educated to be young, independent women with fulfilling careers and lives.
"We are delighted to have won this case for Mrs Raven. It is a victory for natural justice and common sense. We trust the final ruling results in a fair payout for our member to compensate her for months of worry and uncertainty."
Rebecca Raven said: "I am just so pleased to have won this case. It was terrible being told I was losing a job I loved. I couldn't believe it when the school told me I was being dismissed. I had loved working at with the girls and really enjoyed my time at the school. It had been such a lovely school that two of my children went there too.
"Losing my job put a dampener on what should have been a really joyous time for me, looking forward to the birth of my third child. I hope the school's trustees have come to their senses and realise that they need to treat their staff properly."
Notes to editors
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing approximately 170,000 teachers, headteachers, lecturers and support staff in maintained and independent nurseries, schools, sixth form, tertiary and further education colleges in the United Kingdom.
ATL exists to help members, as their careers develop, through first rate research, advice, information and legal advice.
ATL is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). ATL is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.