Former Studley teacher wins unfair dismissal claim

First published in Local

A FORMER Studley school teacher who alleged that a woman colleague placed her leg over his in the staff room has won a legal claim for unfair dismissal.

But Birmingham Employment Tribunal rejected the other legal claims from Clive Burbage for disability discrimination, unpaid wages and detriment.

Mr Burbage, said to be an experienced and well respected teacher, made his claims against Studley High School after he alleged the school failed to make adequate adjustments to help him after being off work for two years.

Mr Burbage who also complained he was bullied and harassed, suffered from anxiety and stress – prompting his legal claim for disability discrimination.

The school denied they had not done enough to help him but admitted there had been confusion about the standard of Mr Burbage’s fitness on his return and questioned whether his work performance would be affected.

The tribunal had been told at a previous hearing that there had been an issue between Mr Burbage and the management.

Tribunal judge Lynda Findlay said at the previous hearing that she would make a decision at a later date.

Now she has decided that Mr Burbage was unfairly dismissed and said he was entitled to a basic award of several hundred pounds.

Mr Burbage had alleged that a woman staff member’s body language had been inappropriate and that “she had placed her leg on his” in the staff room.

Miss Findlay said:” This startling allegation had never appeared in any of the documents before us and was later retracted by the claimant’s counsel, who tried to suggest that it was not inconsistent with his earlier statements that she had invaded his privacy by sitting close to him.”

Miss Findlay said that the tribunal panel did not accept that the woman consciously invaded the claimant’s space nor that she had placed her leg over his.

Miss Findlay said the tribunal had been told that relationships between Mr Burbage and the management had been strained but she said the reasons for his alleged disability discrimination lacked clarity.

She said all the legal claims, except the one for unfair dismissal, had not been well founded.

Mr Burbage who is now living in Solihull, was “voted” among the top teachers at the school during a “rate my teacher survey” for his work in design and technology at one stage.

The school, which is an Academy Trust, in Crooks Lane, Studley, was said by Ofsted to be “outstanding”in 2011.

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