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Mayor of Liverpool Loses Appeal for Unfair Dismissal

By Principal Lawyer, Employment & Partnership

The mayor of Liverpool was dismissed from his role of Inclusion Officer at Chesterfield High School in August 2012.

Employment Appeal Judge Daniel Serota decided that although the way in which the school went about dismissing him was unfair, the decision was justified because the school had ‘some other substantial reason’. But what was that substantial reason that stopped Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson claiming compensation for unfair dismissal?

By the time he was dismissed Mr Anderson had not actually worked for the school for two years. This is because before he was a mayor he became an elected councillor in Liverpool. And when he became an elected councillor he used his statutory right to paid leave so as to enable him to perform his duties as a councillor.

Employers are required to grant their workers time off and paid leave in order to enable them to hold public office so Chesterfield High School kept the position open for him. However, this requirement excludes elected mayors and Mr Anderson failed to contact the school to tell them that he was standing for mayor.

Once the school became an independent academy in 2011 Mr Anderson’s employment transferred from Sefton Council. Then in 2012, the school’s governors decided that continuing to employ Joe Anderson, who was elected Mayor of Liverpool in May 2012, was an inappropriate use of school funds. This is why the Mayor of Liverpool did not win his appeal for Unfair Dismissal.

Judge Daniel Serota agreed saying, “It is certainly fairly arguable that this arrangement may strike members of the public as constituting a misapplication of public monies”. In this case, dismissal was judged to be within the range of reasonable responses of a reasonable employer because the Mayor of Liverpool was party to a misuse of public funds.

Slater and Gordon Principal Employment Lawyer Samantha Mangwana said, “Most unfair dismissal cases are about misconduct, or performance, or an unfair redundancy. But the Employment Tribunal can also look at the big picture and consider other reasons. In this case, it wasn’t unfair to dismiss an elected official who was working elsewhere and not providing value to the school’s students.

That doesn’t mean that an employer doesn’t have to follow due process though. The Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed that this was unfair, and so the employee was awarded some damages.”

The Employment Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK can provide expert legal support for people who have been unfairly dismissed from work. For an initial consultation call freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online.

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