Dublin private school ordered to pay teacher €5,000 over warning

Teacher received final written warning for allegedly calling male student ‘a little bitch’

The award to Pierce Dillon arises from a refusal by the Catholic University School on Leeson Street to allow him appeal a final written warning issued to him in April 2015. File photograph: Collins.

The award to Pierce Dillon arises from a refusal by the Catholic University School on Leeson Street to allow him appeal a final written warning issued to him in April 2015. File photograph: Collins.

 

A private fee-paying school in Dublin has been ordered by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) to pay €5,000 in compensation to a teacher who received a final written warning for allegedly calling a male student “a little bitch”.

The award to Pierce Dillon arises from a refusal by the Catholic University School on Leeson Street to allow him to appeal the warning issued to him in April 2015. The school issued the warning after an investigation into an allegation by a student that Mr Dillon had in 2014 called him “a little bitch”.

Mr Dillon has always denied calling the student the name at any time and took a case to the WRC under section eight of the Unfair Dismissals Act concerning the failure of the school to allow him appeal the final written warning.

WRC adjudicator Jim Dolan said it was a mistake by the school to refuse the appeal and that Mr Dillon’s claim was well founded.

Mr Dolan made a zero award on a claim for 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 some 2½ years after his resignation. He resigned from his post in early 2017 and has been unemployed since.

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 that 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 that Mr Dillon was not entitled to an order quashing the school board of management’s finding that he engaged in inappropriate behaviour and language towards the boy.

At the WRC, lawyers for Mr Dillon argued that the flawed disciplinary process had caused their client great reputational damage and distress.

The science teacher had 35 years’ experience and was earning €65,000 per annum for working 22 hours a week. He started working at the school in 1992.