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Employment Blog: Pregnant teacher wins unfair dismissal case

Friday 08th Jun 2012

Employment tribunal finds school guilty for unfair dismissal after an art teacher was sacked when they found out she was pregnant.

An employment tribunal has ruled a Teacher sacked after her school found out she was pregnant was unfairly dismissed.

Rebecca Raven had been a teacher at Howell’s independent girl’s school in Denbigh, North Wales, since 2008, even sending her own two young daughters there; but when she applied for maternity leave in May 2011 she was told not return after the end of the summer term and was fired from her £23,000-a-year job as an art teacher.

According to her Union (the Association of Teachers and Lecturers) Mrs Raven was told after she had been sacked that she could apply for a part-time position as an art teacher but instead the school gave the job to another applicant.

Mrs Raven took the school to court, claiming she was fired for being pregnant. The school denied the claims and said it was unaware Mrs Raven was pregnant when she was sacked. The employment tribunal didn’t agree and on 6th June found the school guilty of unfair dismissal when they fired her after they found out she was pregnant.

A decision regarding how much compensation she should receive after being unfairly dismissed for being pregnant has yet to be made. Mrs Raven has said that she is looking for compensation and not reinstatement.

“Losing my job put a dampener on what should have been a real joyous time for me, looking forward to the birth of my third child. I hope the school trustees have come to their senses and realise they need to treat their staff properly.”

The school strongly denied they had sacked her Mrs Raven for being pregnant and, after the unfair dismissal verdict from the employment tribunal, said they are considering whether to appeal.

“Mrs Raven was employed to cover for an art teacher who was on sick leave with a heart condition,” a spokesman for the school told the BBC. “A curriculum audit showed we needed only one part-time art teacher for the new academic year….We met with Mrs Raven to discuss the part-time job opportunity but she declined the teaching post we offered her.”

“We had no indication or knowledge at that time that Mrs Raven was pregnant.”

“At no point was her pregnancy a factor in our decision and indeed she had already been offered and turned down the position.”



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