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Teacher’s dismissal for long-term sickness was unfair

23 March 2017 #Employment

The case of O’Brien v Bolton St Catherine’s Academy concerned a teacher who, after 14 months of absence following an assault by a pupil, was dismissed.

The Employment Tribunal determined that she had been unfairly dismissed. In doing so it focussed on the fact that the employer had not produced satisfactory evidence of the adverse impact her absence had on the business and had ignored favourable evidence presented during her internal appeal hearing suggesting she may shortly be fit to return to work.  This decision was initially overturned on appeal but subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal.

This Judgment is perhaps unsurprising, however, it is a reminder to employers that the disruption caused by an employee’s absence is a relevant consideration when deciding to dismiss and adequate evidence should be available to support any assertions in this regard.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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Louise Keenan

Louise Keenan

T: 0118 960 4614
M: 0779 900 7325


Employment team
+44 (0)118 958 5321