29 April 2013
Perthshire teacher was unfairly sacked
A tribunal has ruled that a teacher with Asperger's Syndrome was unfairly sacked by his school.
John Fotheringham was a teacher at Perth Academy when it was unfairly decided that he was unable to keep up to the teaching standards expected of him the Courier reports.
Complaints made by the academy about Mr Fotheringham included that he was unable to make friends with other members of staff and that his lessons were overly structured and didn't take into account student's needs for flexible learning.
People with Asperger's Syndrome often struggle to take part in conversations or be a part of social situations.
Additionally, those with the disorder find it comforting to strict routines and patterns, a trait that, if managed correctly, can be a valuable asset to employers.
While this meant, in Mr Fortheringham's case, that his lessons were overly structured, the Dundee tribunal found that not enough was done to help the teacher utilise his ability to plan and structure activities effectively while still meeting the educational needs of his students.
The school also told Mr Fotheringham that he wasn't allowed to take a lawyer with him to an internal hearing because it was held on the basis of being a health and attendance disciplinary meeting, instead of an employment matter.
However, questions asked in the internal hearing related to competence, which are, according to council policies, outside of the remit of health and attendance meetings.
While Scotland has a school system that is operated differently to those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, workplace discrimination against employees with disabilities or disorders similar to those suffered by Mr Fotheringham is unlawful.
If you believe you, or somebody you know, are being bullied, abused or treated poorly because you or they have a personality disorder you, or the affected individual, could be entitled to claim for any emotional distress that is caused.
You can also phone the National Autistic Society between the hours of 10:00 and 14:00 on 0808 8004104 for emotional support and advice.
Contact our employment solicitors on 0800 916 9060 or email email@example.com if you would like advice on any employment matter
Posted by Chris Stevenson
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