30 Nov 2015

Sacked teacher wins $85k compensation

1:17 pm on 30 November 2015

A junior teacher has won $85,600 in compensation from the Havelock North private boys' school that sacked her.

The Employment Court has found Emma Fox was unfairly dismissed by Hereworth School, which was criticised for acting too hastily.

In 2009, a little more than a year after she was hired, Mrs Fox raised concerns about the school's system for benchmarking students' assessments.

A teacher had asked her to alter reports from the previous year, she said.

She met with the school's principal and later sent an email to all teaching staff, which prompted an investigation.

But Mrs Fox said the consultant hired to oversee the investigation was not neutral, as he was a member of the school's board.

By the end of the year, her relationship with the school had severely deteriorated and she was sacked in early 2010, after she failed to attend a formal meeting.

Mrs Fox's case for unfair dismissal was rejected by the Employment Relations Authority, but the Employment Court has now upheld her appeal.

Chief Judge Graeme Colgan said the authority's investigation was not thorough and lacked key witnesses.

The award of $85,600 was less than half what Mrs Fox applied for. It includes lost wages and other emotional reparation.