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Personal injury and discrimination in education
The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (“NASUWT”) has released the latest figures in respect of compensation payments for teachers. NASUWT experienced a significant increase in cases and last year, a staggering £14.9 million was paid to teachers who faced workplace injuries and discrimination at work. I set out some of these cases below, together with the compensation paid.
- A teacher who suffered from multiple disabilities was awarded the sum of £45,000 after being dismissed for querying the failure to put in reasonable adjustments at his place of work. Amongst other necessary items, the teacher requested that the disabled bays were kept free for those with disabilities, the removal of equipment in the classroom that was in his way, the installation of an interactive whiteboard and that he was allowed to sit on a stool.
Despite having knowledge of his disability, the school dismissed the teacher through their disciplinary procedure.
- A different teacher was awarded £10,000 after students had racially abused her over a dozen times during the course of 18 months.
Her employer did not take the correct action on dealing with the students’ behaviour and even failed to respond to her on some occasions. She ultimately left the school due to the poor response from her employer.
- Another teacher was awarded £9,611 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority after she was physically attacked by a pupil who had a history of demonstrating aggressive behaviour. The teacher suffered lower back injuries and bruising. She was also left with PTSD following the event.
NASUWT commented that they have seen an increase in cases relating to unlawful discrimination by employers towards their staff. This goes to show that many schools need to ensure their policies are up to date and in line with current employment law legislation.
The fact of the matter is that more and more teachers are now able to claim damages in the workplace. Employers need to be fully aware of their responsibilities. They should take great care in dealing with matters such as those listed above. A failure to do so can have serious consequences including the issuance of court proceedings.
Birkett Long can assist schools in these types of discrimination matters in the workplace. We have a dedicated education team consisting of solicitors who specialise in business, civil litigation, personal injury and employment law.
Should you require any legal advice, I would be happy to have an initial, no-obligation chat on the telephone to discuss your options.