Employment case update | Headteacher subject to sexual orientation discrimination
Mr Aplin was a 42 year old openly gay primary school Headteacher. He met two 17 year old males on Grindr (a dating app), and… Read more
Mr Aplin was a 42 year old openly gay primary school Headteacher. He met two 17 year old males on Grindr (a dating app), and the three of them had sex. Having been made aware of the incident, the Local Authority set up a Professional Abuse Strategy Meeting which concluded that there had been no criminal offence committed and that no child protection issues had arisen.
Despite this, the school brought disciplinary proceedings resulting in the school dismissing Mr Aplin with immediate effect. There were a number of procedural failings with both the disciplinary and appeal process. The EAT dismissed the school’s appeal, upholding the finding of the ET that Mr Aplin had been constructively unfairly dismissed, and had been subject to sexual orientation discrimination.
This case considered some technical points, which we won’t consider in detail here, but it serves as a reminder that sensitive matters such as these should be handled with care, and employers should be comfortable that their investigation, including the subject of the investigation or line of questioning, is not discriminatory.
As soon as a claimant can show that an inference of discrimination could be drawn from an employer’s behaviour, it will be for the employer to give an adequate alternative explanation for their conduct – something the school in this case was unable to do.
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