Loyal teacher expected to be heard

The IEU recently represented a member who has worked in Catholic schools since 1978.

Following his retirement, he took up some casual teaching, and eventually returned to the school where he had taught for over 30 years.

On the Monday prior to Christmas, and without warning, the member received a letter from the Catholic Schools Broken Bay Diocesan Director.

That letter advised that concerns had been raised about things that had allegedly occurred in mid-November, and that the Diocese would “no longer offer [him] any casual engagements in the future”.

Understandably the member was distressed. In his entire teaching career, he had never been the subject of any formal disciplinary proceedings and had never, to use his words, “received a letter from any employer”.

But what upset him the most is that nobody from the Diocesan office spoke to him about the concerns, and nobody even attempted to contact him to seek his response. After more than 30 years with the Broken Bay Diocese, he had findings made against him in secret, and was barred from future employment.

When the union challenged the behaviour of the Diocese in the Fair Work Commission on behalf of the member, Broken Bay engaged a law firm and proposed to knock it out on a technicality.

Who knows what the Diocese might have decided if it had afforded the member the dignity of being heard?

Maybe they would have made the same findings. But the fact remains that, after a working life of service to Catholic schools, Broken Bay just didn’t care to listen.

Iain Bailey
Industrial Officer