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Wife of sex offender wins unfair dismissal claim against school

A woman who was sacked because she refused to leave her husband after his conviction for sex offences has won her claims of unfair dismissal and indirect religious discrimination.

The woman was a highly regarded teacher with an exemplary record at her school. However, her husband was convicted of making indecent images of children.

The woman was asked by her school to end her relationship with her husband. When she refused, she was dismissed immediately.

She brought a claim of unfair dismissal. She also alleged that she had been subjected to indirect religious discrimination because the school had failed to recognise that her devout Christian beliefs meant that her marriage vows were sacrosanct to her.

The Employment Tribunal upheld her unfair dismissal claim because the school had not shown that she had done anything that amounted to gross misconduct. However, it dismissed the religious discrimination claim.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal reversed the decision about discrimination. It held that the school’s practice of dismissing people in her circumstances put her at a disadvantage because of her deeply held religious views. She had therefore been subjected to indirect religious discrimination and her claim should be upheld.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article.