By: 27 February 2024
Tribunal awards £40,000 compensation to teacher

An English Foreign Language (EFL) teacher has successfully achieved victory in the employment tribunal following actions by her employer that resulted in unfair constructive dismissal.

What happened?

The tribunal found Ms V’s claims of unfair constructive dismissal, along with unlawful deductions from wages and holiday pay, to be “well founded” and awarded her almost £40,000 in compensation in its January 2024 judgment.

Ms V worked for her former employer Golders Green College & School of English Ltd from 2004 as a self-employed teacher. She became a full-time employee of the school in April 2008 and remained there until her resignation in May 2022.

Morrish Solicitors LLP represented the claimant, who is a member of the trade union Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The claim for unfair constructive dismissal was the result of behaviour by her former employer which included: unlawful changes in contract with no consultation; refusal to acknowledge a grievance complaint meeting; threatening behaviour both in writing and in person; refusal to acknowledge the claimant’s membership of a trade union; and refusal to allow the claimant to be accompanied by her trade union representative at meetings.

Alongside a claim for unlawful deductions from holiday pay and wages, the claimant issued a claim for unfair constructive dismissal. Ms V was able to prove that the actions of her former employer were unlawful and had a significant impact on her mental health.

 

What did those involved have to say?

Omar Ghaffoor, employment solicitor at Morrish Solicitors LLP said: “We are absolutely delighted to have received the judgment from Watford employment tribunal in relation to this case of unfair constructive dismissal — which are notoriously hard to prove — and unlawful deductions from wages and holiday pay. This is a tremendous victory for Ms V and her union, IWW, who have maintained throughout this case that the employer should not have varied Ms V’s contract of employment without due process and meaningful consultation.

“The conduct of the employer was found by the tribunal to be ‘unacceptable and lacked any respect for the claimant as a valued employee, her state of mind and welfare’.

The claimant, Ms V said: “Thanks to the support of the IWW and Morrish Solicitors, I firmly believe that their expertise, determination and dedication was instrumental in obtaining the best outcome possible for me. I am truly grateful to them for being there for me during a very stressful time and helping me fight for my employee rights.”

Tom Liebewitz, chair of the TEFL Workers’ Union (IWW) steering committee said: “The English language teaching industry can be notoriously difficult to hold to account. The fight isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. Ms V is an inspiration to TEFL workers across the UK for having the courage to stand up and fight back.”

The national legal officer for IWW said: “Language schools must recognise that they’re still bound by employment legislation and basic decency when dealing with their employees. Ms V’s case shows that the combination of legal action and public campaigning can change the tide. We are so grateful to Omar and the rest of the team at Morrish for their unwavering dedication to workers’ rights.”

 

Image: Morrish Solicitors
Emma Cockings
Emma is a content editor for Claims Media. Emma is a experienced writer with a background in client-centric personal injury for a major firm. She has attended and reported on multiple brokerage events throughout her career.