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teacher’s prison sentence reduces unfair dismissal award

14 August 2013

Should a teacher who has been unfairly dismissed get less compensation if he assaults a pupil after his dismissal?  The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decided that he should, in the case of Cumbria County Council v Bates

After his dismissal from Dowdales School, Bates assaulted a 16 year old girl who he had previously taught.  The Employment Tribunal initially found they could not take this into account in deciding how much money he should be awarded for unfair dismissal from his job.  The EAT disagreed.  The fact of his six week prison sentence would mean that Mr Bates had damaged his own chances of getting future employment.  The school should not therefore have to pay loss of earnings to Bates for a period that he would not have been working as a direct result of his own actions.

This is a welcome decision for schools, and all employers, involved in claims to the employment tribunal when they are faced with poor conduct of an employee after they are dismissed.

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