By Monitor
The increasing number of cases of unfair dismissal coming in front of employment tribunals in Britain is lifting a curtain on the dreadful standards of some British management practice. Sometimes these cases, including one currently being reported, make for titillating reading but the more serious among them reveal a world of bullying, exclusion, and downright unfairness in businesses whose senior managers should know better. Several tribunals have had to criticise arbitrary management behaviour in City of London companies and a worrying number of cases have involved women whose job performance apparently counted for less than their alleged inability to fit in to what has hitherto been a man's world. Now the blight has affected the most prestigious school in the country where top people pay more than 23'000 pounds a year to have their top children educated. Eton College, no less. An employment tribunal has ruled that the junior art teacher Sarah Forsyth had been unfairly dismissed, although it did not support her allegations that she had “helped” Prince Harry with his A-level art. The language used by the tribunal about the Eton College staff who gave evidence is extraordinary: “Senior management had been high-handed, dismissive, prejudicial, partial, pedantic, unprofessional and lacking in even-handedness.” The headmaster's evidence “raised more questions than it answered” and he and his deputy, the head of art and other senior staff were accused of being “unsatisfactory witnesses” whose words were unreliable. In thecircumstances it was hardly surprsing that the tribunal expressed its inredulity that a school with a 25 million pound budget operated in what it called the “gentleman–amateur world of independent schools”. A spokesman for Eton College said that the senior staff concerned would not be considering their positions and remained “absolutely” in place. Naturally.

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