Belfast Telegraph

Belfast teacher claims she was forced from job by headmaster husband having affair with colleague

By Chris Kilpatrick

A Northern Ireland teacher claims she was forced from her job by her estranged husband – a school principal – after he had an affair with another member of staff.

Linda Black claims she was unfairly dismissed in a tribunal case being taken against Newtownbreda High School in Belfast, her husband Colin Black, and the South Eastern Education and Library Board.

In the joint action, she also claims the parties breached their contract of employment.

Mrs Black is also pursuing a complaint of sexual discrimination against Mr Black, the south Belfast school and its board of governors.

A pre-hearing in the industrial tribunal case took place in Belfast's Killymeal House yesterday.

Dark-haired Mrs Black, dressed in a long red coat, arrived with her legal team for the hearing.

She alleges she was forced by Mr Black to take redundancy from the school.

Her legal team said plans had been made between the couple for their retirement.

She had then intended to undertake substitute teaching work at the school, which she says she did from October 2011 until December 2011.

It transpired Mr Black was having an affair with another teacher and his marriage broke down as a result, the hearing was told.

Ms Black alleges she was offered no subbing work as a teacher at the school as a result of the breakdown of her marriage, citing sexual discrimination as the reason.

This is rejected by Mr Black and his legal representatives.

Overseeing yesterday's pre-hearing, president Eileen McBride asked Mr Black's representatives: "Is it disputed Mr Black had an affair?

"No," was the reply.

Ms McBride then asked: "Does he dispute he had an affair while the claimant was a teacher at the school?"

"No," was the reply again.

Mr Black did not attend the pre-hearing and Ms Black did not wish to make any comment.

When contacted by the Belfast Telegraph at Newtownbreda High School yesterday afternoon, Mr Black said he did not wish to comment on the case until he had sought legal advice.

However, he then added: "The only comment I have is denying the allegations Mrs Black has been making at the industrial tribunal, and I won't be making any (further) comment until after the industrial tribunal has been and gone."

Asked if he was considering his position at the school, he replied: "No."

A spokeswoman for the South Eastern Education and Library Board said: "The board is not in a position to make any comment with regards to these proceedings which are due to be heard by the industrial tribunal."

The full case will be heard next month.

Belfast Telegraph


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