belfasttelegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Bias case lesbian teacher is awarded £15,000

A special needs teacher who claimed she was discriminated against at Tor Bank for being a lesbian was given a £15,000 payout.

Jill Young (37) began working at the Dundonald school in September 2003. She blamed the principal for bullying and harassment and accused him of suggesting she should leave. She left after three years.

The South Eastern Education and Library Board agreed to pay the money without admitting liability.

The Equality Commission said: “Frustrated by her alleged treatment and strained working relationships the claimant resigned and claimed constructive dismissal.”

It was alleged that on the way home from a school night out the principal made an advance to Ms Young which was rebuked. The headmaster denies this.

After discovering she was a lesbian the claimant alleged the principal and his deputy conducted a campaign of less favourable treatment, bullying and harassment due to her sexual orientation.

She said the principal commented that following her move to a classroom nearest the road he hoped her next move would be “out the gate”.

She alleged the principal said he hoped a sheet of paper she was holding was her letter of resignation.

She alleged the vice-principal telephoned a classroom assistant to discuss her sexual orientation and also said several unfounded complaints had been made about her work.

She was in a civil partnership with another female employee at the school.

The education board reaffirmed its commitment to equality of opportunity in employment and undertook to ensure their practices complied with the law.

A spokesman for the education board said: “It is the board's policy not to comment on individual cases.”

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