NASUWT secures £14.9m for members

The NASUWT secured compensation of £14,933,905.34 for members during 2018.

 The compensation was awarded for successful claims including unfair dismissal, unlawful discrimination, personal injuries and criminal assault.

 The NASUWT experienced a significant increase last year in cases relating to unlawful discrimination by employers towards members. These included cases where members had been subjected to discriminatory practices related to pregnancy-related and flexible-working requests, the failure to make reasonable adjustments for members with a disability, race discrimination and discrimination based on age, sexual orientation and religion or belief.

 The NASUWT secured £10,000 for a 33 year-old member from South Yorkshire who was subjected to verbal racial abuse on more than a dozen occasions over the course of 18 months by students at her school. Her employer failed to take appropriate action to address the students’ behaviour, failing to respond in some instances when the member reported the abuse and dealing with other incidents inconsistently. The member ultimately left the school due to the poor response from her employer.

 The NASUWT lodged claims for racial discrimination and for constructive dismissal. The employer was unable to produce significant documentation demonstrating their robust handling of the racism and after successful negotiations the settlement was agreed.

A settlement of £45,000 was agreed for a 54 year-old disabled member from the East Midlands who was dismissed by his employer after querying the failure to put in place reasonable adjustments to enable him to do his job.

 He had multiple disabilities, including a form of arthritis, hypertension, gout and diabetes, which the employer was aware of. He sought the Union’s assistance after failing to receive a satisfactory response from his employer to requests for reasonable adjustments. He had requested a trolley to aid his mobility, for disabled parking bays to be kept free for those with disabilities, the removal of classroom equipment which was in his way and for an interactive whiteboard, large wireless keyboard and stool to be provided for his classroom.

 The employer then began a disciplinary investigation into his alleged conduct. The member understood this investigation to be motivated by the employer’s unhappiness with the repeated queries about reasonable adjustments. He was dismissed via the school’s disciplinary procedure.

 The NASUWT brought claims to an Employment Tribunal for direct and indirect discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments, unfair dismissal and detriment due to making a protected disclosure.

 NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “Whilst the NASUWT has been successful in securing record compensation for members, the fact is that behind these figures is a catalogue of appalling treatment teachers have suffered at the hands of their employer.

 “In most cases the money awarded does not compensate for the fact that a teacher’s physical or mental health may have been affected and they can no longer work in their chosen profession.

 “Too many employers adopt an ‘anything goes’ style of management and believe they can act with impunity as the government fails to take any action to secure compliance with employment law, allowing poor employment practices to flourish as a result of the excessive freedoms and flexibilities it has given to schools.

 “These figures mask the anxiety, stress and distress many teachers will have suffered at the hands of their employers before seeking our help.

 “But they also represent what we believe is only the tip of the iceberg. There is no doubt that  many more will have been driven out of the profession without proper redress for poor, discriminatory or unfair treatment because they were too fearful or stressed to come forward or believed nothing could be done.

 “By publicising these figures the NASUWT hopes that they will encourage any teacher facing discrimination or unfair treatment to seek our help.”

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