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Archive for June, 2011

Sharon Shoesmith was dismissed by Haringey Council as its director of childrens’ services after the death of Baby P for gross misconduct and without the right to a disciplinary process as required by UK employment law. In other words, she was not given the chance to defend herself and therefore the tax payer will be shelling out a shilling. It stands as a stark reminder to employers everywhere that however wrong you may think an employee is, they do not forfeit their right to a fair hearing.

In its defence her employer, Haringey Council, said it was under pressure from the Secretary of State Ed Balls to fire her.

The Court of Appeal has rejected Shoesmith’s appeal in relation to OFSTED but upheld it against the Secretary of State for Education and Haringey Council. The judge said the dismissal was unreasonable: “she was entitled to be treated lawfully and fairly and not simply and summarily scapegoated”.

Despite the tragic events which led up to this case, every employee is entitled to the right to reply when their job is on the line. Ed Balls was either lashing out, attempting to save his own skin or buckling under pressure. I don’t know which it was but in any case it was wrong. Crikey, even TV audiences have the right to reply and  if the government thinks itself above the law,  it is in the wrong country. Thank goodness!

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