Employment Tribunal Rules Against Trafford School And Says Experienced Teacher Was Victimised
A teacher who worked at Kings Road Primary School in Old Trafford, Manchester, for almost 20 years has won her Employment Tribunal case - successfully claiming that she was the victim of racial discrimination and victimisation.
Andrea Mairs, who appointed specialist employment lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to handle her case, argued that the school’s Senior Leadership Team. (SLT), raised a grievance against her after she took a stand against racism in her workplace. She claimed she was victimised which ultimately led to her position at the school being terminated.
Trafford Borough Council & The Governing Body of Kings Road Primary School denied the accusations, but the court has this month ruled in Ms Mairs favour.
Ms Mairs argues she had fulfilled her duty to combat racism within the school by reporting instances such as a magician allegedly referring to children with brown and black skin as ‘monkeys’; objecting to a child being labelled a 'blackcurrant'; raising a grievance against a teaching assistant for racist conduct; and advocating anti-racism training.
In response to her efforts to combat racism, Ms Mairs faced an investigation initiated by the SLT, who collectively raised a grievance against her. The SLT expressed concerns about their ability to work professionally with Ms Mairs and claimed they were forced into anti-racism training. In a counter-grievance, Ms Mairs provided accounts of potentially racist conduct by the SLT staff.
The situation escalated when the SLT staff threatened to walk out if Ms. Mairs returned to work, ultimately resulting in her termination following a dismissal hearing conducted by the school governor.
Expert Opinion"Our client’s concerns were raised in the expectation that appropriate steps would be taken to prevent and address race discrimination in the workplace.
“Regrettably, she felt that her concerns were not given due consideration and were inadequately addressed, resulting in unjust consequences for her. After dedicating nearly two decades of her life to the school, we are delighted that the Employment Tribunal recognised the validity of her claims of racial discrimination and victimisation, leading to a successful outcome for our client.
“This victory serves as a significant reminder of the importance of addressing and eradicating racism from all workplaces."
Shazia Shah, employment lawyer at Irwin Mitchell
Andrea Mairs added: "Throughout this challenging journey, I have remained steadfast in my commitment to combating racism within the school. It is disheartening that my concerns were not taken seriously and that I faced victimisation as a result.
“I am immensely grateful for the support and guidance provided by Shazia Shah and the team at Irwin Mitchell, who believed in my cause and fought tirelessly on my behalf. This victory is not just for me, but for everyone who has experienced discrimination and hopes for a more inclusive and equitable future. I sincerely hope that this case serves as a wake-up call to address racism in all its forms and that it paves the way for positive change within the education sector and beyond."
Francis Mortin at St Philips Barristers was appointed by Irwin Mitchell to represent Andrea Mairs at the tribunal.