Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Teacher wins discrimination case after being overlooked for temporary promotion

Catherine McCormick who's been awarded £5,000 Credit: Equality Commission

A teacher at a Co Down school has been awarded £5,000 after being overlooked for a temporary promotion because she worked reduced hours.

Catherine Campbell, who's taught at Assumption Grammar School in Ballynahinch since 2007, settled the case after not being given the chance to apply for the Head of English position.

The case amounted to indirect sex discrimination.

Ms Campbell worked three days out of five following her return from maternity leave.

The school had been very accommodating of her flexible working arrangements, which she needed because of child care responsibilities.

Following the settlement, Assumption recognised that it did not give Ms McCormick an opportunity to apply for the position and disadvantaged her as a part time/flexible worker.

£5000
Catherine Campbell awarded a monetary settlement following the discrimination case

"When a colleague was appointed temporary head of English, and I was not considered because I was working part time, I thought it was unfair to be denied the opportunity to be considered for this temporary promotion and the chance to gain that experience," said Ms Campbell.

"I understand that the demands of the post would mean working full-time, but I wasn't given this option.

"I love my job and am happy at the school, so I'm pleased that a new co-option policy has been put in place which will ensure that opportunities for career enhancement are dealt with on a formal and procedurally correct manner."

The Commission said the Board of Governors regretted the upset felt by Ms McCormick and looked forward to continued good working relationships.

It said it confirmed that there will be no disadvantage to her due to the fact that she was unable to avail of the acting up experience, and that she won't be victimised in any way.

"We're publicising this to remind all employers of the difficulties and dangers of disadvantaging people on flexible or part time working arrangements, even unintentionally."

– Anne McKernan, Equality Commission

Anne McKernan, head of legal services at the Equality Commission, said: "This is a good result all round - one of the main reasons we support cases is to effect change.

"While Catherine missed out on this opportunity, she has been able to secure a change in policy and practice that will benefit other teachers into the future. It's good that this has been resolved productively and amicably.

"We're publicising this to remind all employers of the difficulties and dangers of disadvantaging people on flexible or part time working arrangements, even unintentionally."

39%
of female employees work part-time compared to 9% of male employees
82%
of part-time employees are women