UK teacher wins tribunal ruling after being laid off because of faith
A teacher was recently awarded more than £8,000 ($12,000) when a Fair Employment Tribunal ruled in her favor that she was unfairly chosen to be laid off because of her faith.
The Tribunal ruled that Julie Brudell, a Protestant and former tutor, was discriminated against when she was selected for redundancy after it was learned that Catholic pupils at Ballykelly Primary in Derry were more plentiful than Protestants, the Belfast Telegraph said.
Brudell, who has taught for over 25 years, was awarded £8,250. She and three other Protestant teachers were made redundant.
However, all Catholic teachers kept their jobs although three of them had less experience than Brudell.
In the past Ballykelly’s Protestant students had always outnumbered Catholics. However, when the Ballykelly Army barracks closed many of the service children, mostly Protestants, moved away. As a result there were 170 Catholic students and 130 Protestant pupils in the school, the Belfast Telegraph said.
The school had five Catholic teachers and 10 Protestant teachers.
In the hearing, Fr. Michael Collins, Limavady parish priest governor cited the school ethic that staff should be consistent with the religious leanings of the students. Collins felt that there was a need for teachers to believe in what they were teaching, and he felt Catholic teachers were more equipped to respond to the spiritual needs of the children, the Belfast Telegraph said.
However the tribunal said, “It is clear that there was an awareness that the Roman Catholic pupils now outnumbered the Protestant ones, that the school had lost so many children already and would lose even more depending on who was made redundant,” the Belfast Telegraph said.
The Tribunal noted that “The fact that the respondents acted with good intentions in the interests of the school does not provide them with a defense,” the Belfast Telegraph said.
Brudell now works in the nursery unit at Ballykelly Primary.
Of the ruling she said, “I am very glad that this has been resolved and that the tribunal has found that my selection for redundancy was unlawful discrimination on the grounds of religious belief.”