A former teacher at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School has been awarded compensation of £3,160.88 after a tribunal ruled that she was unfairly dismissed.

Ciara Hambly took the case against the Fermanagh voluntary grammar school where she had worked as a teacher in modern languages from February 22, 2016 to June 30, 2018.

Over a two-day hearing in Belfast, the tribunal was told that Ms. Hambly had accumulated continuous service of more than two complete years during that period.

Ms. Hambly had covered maternity leave for two teachers and unpaid leave for one teacher during that time. In correspondence seen by this newspaper the tribunal was told that the teacher whom Ms. Hambly had been covering during the latter period of her employment was made redundant from the school following an application for voluntary redundancy which took effect from August 31, 2018.

Ms. Hambly was given notice of her contract termination by letter dated May 29, 2018. The letter detailed that the post held by the teacher Ms. Hambly was covering was being suppressed and that there was to be a reduction in the number of full-time equivalent teachers in the school.

Ms. Hambly’s termination was with effect from June 30, 2018 as her services were not required during July and August as no teaching duties were required during the school holidays.

The tribunal stated: “The respondent had failed to fulfill the statutory three step procedure as required by the 1996 Order. In particular, there had been no interview, no decision and no appeal.”

As the statutory three step procedure for terminating employment as required by the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 was not followed by the school, a unanimous decision of the tribunal ruled that Ms. Hambly was automatically unfairly dismissed and that compensation was to be awarded.

Speaking after the verdict, Ciara Hambly commented: “I am relieved to be vindicated by the judgement of Unfair Dismissal issued at an open Tribunal and regret that such a process was necessary. However the reasons for procedures not being followed by ERGS regarding my dismissal remain unclear.”