Thinking of retiring?


Mrs Quick was headmistress of a Cornwall Council primary school that was possibly going to be merged with three other primary schools. This meant that retirement or redeployment of some teachers was likely. Mrs Quick was dismissed following allegations of serious misconduct and an irretrievable breakdown in trust between her and the Council.

Mrs Quick then submitted an Employment Tribunal claim, which included claims of age discrimination and harassment. Her allegations were based on various incidents, including

  • a colleague asking her if she had any plans for retiring;
  • a discussion between Mrs Quick and the Chair of Governors about her retirement;
  • an email comment from the Chair of Governors to a School Improvement Partner: ‘we will be observing teaching in both classes including her. She’s 59’;

The Employment Tribunal dismissed the claims, holding that Mrs Quick’s dismissal was because of her serious misconduct and a fundamental breakdown in trust and confidence. Although many of the comments made to her were clearly age related, they had to be seen in the context of the proposed restructuring, which meant that it was sensible for the Council to discuss succession planning and possible retirement and did not constitute less favourable treatment.

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