compensation | 

Dublin school ordered to pay €5k to teacher who allegedly called student 'little b***h'

The award to Pierce Dillon arises from a refusal by the school to allow Mr Dillon to appeal a final written warning issued to him
Catholic University School. Picture: Google Maps

Catholic University School. Picture: Google Maps

Gordon Deegan

A Dublin private school has been ordered to pay €5,000 compensation to a teacher who allegedly called a male student "a little bitch".

The €5,000 award to Pierce Dillon ordered by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) arises from a refusal by the Catholic University School on Dublin's Leeson Street to allow Mr Dillon to appeal a final written warning issued to him in April 2015.

The fee-paying school issued the final written warning after an investigation into an allegation by a student that Mr Dillon called him "a little bitch" in 2014. Mr Dillon has denied at all times that he called the student the offensive name.

Mr Dillon took a case to the WRC under Section 8 of the Unfair Dismissals Act, concerning the failure of the school to allow him appeal the final written warning.

Now, in a ruling, WRC adjudicator Jim Dolan said it was a mistake by the school to refuse an appeal to the final written warning and he found the claim to be well founded.

Mr Dolan made a zero award for claim of loss of earnings due to what he called the teacher's "poor effort" to mitigate his losses and being mindful of the fact that the complainant was on sick leave for around two-and-a-half years after his resignation.

The €5,000 award, however, is a small fraction of the legal costs in the long-running dispute between Mr Dillon and the school.

Already the dispute has been the subject of the two High Court rulings and a ruling by the Court of Appeal.

In October 2019, the High Court found Mr Dillon was denied a proper disciplinary process and ruled that he was entitled to an order quashing the final written warning.

However, Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy found Mr Dillon was not entitled to an order quashing the school board of management's finding that he engaged in inappropriate behaviour and language toward the boy.

In a bid to overturn the disciplinary outcome, the teacher initially instituted High Court judicial review proceedings in December 2015. That legal process continued for almost four years before Ms Justice Murphy's ruling in October 2019.

At the WRC, lawyers for Mr Dillon argued that the flawed disciplinary process has cost their client great reputational damage and distress. They said the final written warning remaining on his file and his relationship with his school had made life "intolerable".

He resigned from his post in February 2017 and he has been unemployed since.

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