The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) case of Basildon Academies - v – Amadi and Another has reminded schools and other employers of the need to ensure that they have comprehensive policies in place.
An employee of an Academy worked part time as a teacher. Unbeknown to the Academy, he also worked at a College.
In December 2012, the employee was suspended by the College as a result of allegations by a student of sexual assault. He did not however inform the Academy of this. However, in March 2013 the police told the Academy of the allegations, swiftly following which the Academy unsurprisingly suspended the teacher.
A disciplinary hearing at the Academy took place, at which the Academy decided, amongst other things, that the teacher had deliberately withheld the information about the allegations from the Academy, which they found to be an act of gross misconduct and dismissed the teacher.
The teacher took the Academy to a tribunal, and the tribunal found that he had been unfairly dismissed. The Academy appealed to the EAT, on the basis that there must surely be an implied contractual term in the teacher’s contract that he needed to inform the Academy employer about such allegations.
The EAT however said not. There was no breach of any express or implied contractual term of the teacher’s contract with the Academy. As a result, there was no ground on which to find that there was an act of gross misconduct. His dismissal was indeed therefore unfair.
There is in law a principle that an employee may sometimes be required to disclose to their employer their own wrongdoing. There is not however an obligation under law to inform the employer of an allegation of wrongdoing.
So, the lesson here is that, if you want to ensure that a teacher or any other employee tells you about any allegation against them which may have an impact on the employer’s wish or ability to carry on employing them, this obligation needs to be made very clear in either their contract of employment or, more appropriately perhaps, in policies such as one deal with safeguarding.
For more information on this article please contact Nick Hall on 01604 463375 or click here to email Nick.
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