The teacher was fired for not meeting after his mother was diagnosed with cancer
A veteran music teacher who was sacked for skipping a staff meeting after finding out her mother had cancer has been awarded more than £16,000 in compensation.
Jacqueline Dumigan, a piano and voice teacher who taught at the prestigious Mount School in Huddersfield for 24 years, was asked to attend the gathering on her day off.
But she had to meet with family members to talk about her 90-year-old mother, who had just been diagnosed with cancer, and emailed the school’s owner to say she could not attend, a labor tribunal heard .
The school’s owner, Christopher Sellers, emailed her back to say her resignation had been accepted, the panel was told.
After a labor judge sued the school in Edgerton, West Yorkshire for £9,000 a year, a labor judge ruled Ms Dumigan had been wrongly dismissed and awarded her £16,800 in damages.
The Leeds Tribunal heard Ms Dumigan worked part-time at the school for ages four to 11, which Mr Sellers and his wife Natalie took over in 2017.
In December 2021, Mr. Sellers sent an email urging all staff to attend a mandatory meeting at the school.
Ms Dumigan was finished for the term so was not working on the day of the meeting and should have come on her day off, the court heard.
She told Mr Sellers that she could not attend because she saw her sister, who had traveled from afar, but did not explain the reason for their meeting, the panel heard.
The teacher met with her family members to discuss her elderly mother’s treatment and care.
Mr Sellers replied to her email to tell her the meeting was not optional, the panel heard.
When she again told him she would not make it, he replied, “Resignation accepted,” the court was told.
The teacher informed Mr Sellers that she had not resigned, to which he replied that the email was a formal notice that her employment was being terminated.
The court heard Ms Dumigan was considered a “difficult” staff member by the school’s owner.
He admitted “failing on his behalf” to not conduct a formal investigation into the matter.
Labor judge Amir Jaleel concluded that Ms Dumigan had been wrongly dismissed.
Judge Jaleel said: “Mr Sellers did not conduct an inquiry and accepts that he did not conduct a formal disciplinary process before dismissing Ms Dumigan.
“By his own admission, Mr. Sellers did not believe that an investigation or hearing was necessary.
“I found that Mr Sellers had elected to dismiss (Ms Dumigan) without establishing the facts of her refusal to attend the hearing at an investigative meeting.
“She was done with the semester and didn’t work on Mondays anyway. She was essentially asked to attend a meeting on her day off.
Ms Dumigan – who also runs her own gin business – won a total of £16,802.31
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/14/teacher-sacked-for-missing-meeting-after-mums-cancer-diagnosis-18438097/ The teacher was fired for not meeting after his mother was diagnosed with cancer