Teachers’ dismissal in Gwynedd Council school reorganisation was unfair, rules Court of Appeal


Re: Gwynedd Council v Barratt & Anor [2021] EWCA Civ 1322

The Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of the Employment Tribunal that two teachers had been unfairly dismissed when Gwynedd Council reorganised its schools, and that no reduction to their compensation should be made in circumstances in which the local authority had not adduced any evidence to show that it had considered redeploying them to other schools in the area.

Employers must usually give priority to employees at risk of redundancy over external candidates when seeking to fill available vacancies. For the purposes of suitable alternative employment, an employer’s “organisation” includes, in the private sector, associated employers; and, for maintained schools, other schools within the area of the same local education authority. An ET was entitled to find that no Polkey reduction whatsoever should be made when a local authority employer did not adduce any evidence to show (for example) what consideration was given to redeploying the teachers at other schools within the local authority. The Staffing Regulations provide teachers with additional protections, over and above the general right not to be unfairly dismissed under the ERA 1996.

Claire Darwin was involved in this case.