The Bromsgrove Advertiser reports that a former award-winning union representative has submitted an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal after she was sacked last year.
Ms Kike Gbinigie worked at Dorrington Primary School as a teacher until the incidents that occurred last year. She alleges that she was asked to work in a hut in the school’s grounds that apparently contained asbestos. She told the Employment Tribunal that she complained of this fact to the school and that this complaint constituted a protected disclosure as it related to health and safety in the workplace, was made in good faith, and was in the public interest. She claims that she was later disciplined and dismissed as a result of this protected disclosure. The school – for its part – stated that there was nothing unusual about asking a teacher to work in the hut and that teachers worked in the hut on a rota. Further, the school is defending the case on the basis that the disclosures were not the reason why Ms Gbingie was dismissed but because she had become “aggressive” in her complaints about the asbestos and that her personality “changed”. After her dismissal Ms Gbingie took advice from employment law solicitors and submitted a claim for unfair dismissal, discrimination and detriment due to a protected disclosure to the Employment Tribunal.
Ms Gbinigie is a member and representative of the National Association of School Masters Union of Women Teachers (NASMUWT) and had recently won a NASMUWT Representative of the Year award.
An employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed from their employment under s.94 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. Under the Employment Rights Act an employee should be given a potentially fair reason for their dismissal and their dismissal should be procedurally and substantively unfair – this generally means that the decision to dismiss should be one that is honest, genuine and based on the facts gathered by a reasonably thorough investigation, and that this investigation should be as fair and impartial as possible.
Employees also have the right not to be discriminated against by their employer because they possess a protected characteristic (their age, sex, race, disability etc.). Discrimination may occur if the employer does anything which is detrimental to the employee (for example, dismissing them, demoting them or failing to offer them an opportunity for promotion).