Teacher’s dismissal appeal over 18-rated films dismissed by Tribunal

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld the decision that a teacher was dismissed on grounds of discrimination rising from disability.

Mr Grosset, a teacher showed the 18-rated movie Halloween to pupils who were 15 and 16 years of age.

The EAT – in the City of York Council against Mr Grosset – accepted the fact that the dismissal amounted to unfavourable treatment and was not justified. The tribunal found that the treatment was unfair due to the disability from which Mr Grosset suffers.

Mr Grosset suffers from cystic fibrosis. He reported that after a change in the performance standards at the school, he would be required to take on a heavier workload. Mr Grosset told the school that the new workload was unacceptable because of his medical condition. The new workload had become unreasonably heavy for him, and he simply could not handle it.

After discussing the increased workload with the school, Mr Grosset expected it to be decreased, but this never happened. He found that his health deteriorated to the extent that his doctor signed him off work due to stress.

Shortly before he went on sick leave, the head-master discovered that Mr Grosset had shown the 18-rated film to scholars of 15 and 16 years of age, whom he considered vulnerable.

The disciplinary panel at the school did not accept Mr Grosset’s explanation. He stated that showing the film had been a momentary error of judgement which was brought on by stress which was aggravated by his cystic fibrosis. The panel dismissed Mr Grosset for gross misconduct.

The tribunal found that Mr Grosset was claiming for discrimination arising from his disability under the Equality Act 2010.

The tribunal accepted that Mr Grosset had shown the film while being in an impaired mental state, which was a direct result from his disability. They agreed that his dismissal did amount to discrimination which arose from his disability.

After reviewing medical evidence, the tribunal found that the decision to dismiss Mr Grosset was not justified. The tribunal found that showing the film to under-age pupils was indeed a consequence of Mr Grosset’s impaired mental state.

The tribunal found that dismissing Mr Grosset was not a proportionate disciplinary action, neither was it productive in achieving any protection of children. This discipline did not ensure that school standards were maintained.

The school appealed against the decision, based on the fact that the children were considered vulnerable.

The EAT dismissed the school’s appeal and a date will be set to consider any further action and recompense due to Mr Grosset.

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