Brighton education manager discriminated against trans teacher

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The General Teaching Council for England has ruled that an education manager at Brighton and Hove City Council is guilty of discriminating against a teacher who is trans.

Philip Morgan sent a secret fax to an employment agency that revealed his colleague was transgender and refused to write a reference.

The GTC this week found Mr Morgan guilty of six separate counts of discrimination. He has been ordered to undergo training.

A disciplinary panel said he had “brought the reputation and standing of the profession into serious disrepute.”

Brighton & Hove City Council employed Mr Morgan as Education, Training and Employment Manager.

The teacher, known as Ms A, tried to complain to Mr Morgan’s bosses about being refused a reference she was prevented.

The GTC decided “in the public interest for a disciplinary order to be imposed … to protect colleagues, pupils and the public generally, the committee consider it is essential for Mr Morgan to undergo formal training.”

The penalty follows an earlier employment tribunal judgement against Mr Morgan and the City Council of illegal discrimination and victimisation.

Nigel Tart, the Green Party spokesperson on lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans issues, and himself a gay teacher, welcomed the GTC ruling.

“Trans people are an important, but often invisible, part of our community,” he said.

“Brave teachers like Ms A have the potential to educate their students far more effectively than any anonymous text book or DVD.

“Growing up gay is still difficult, but trans young people are many times more vulnerable. A positive role model could make all the difference.

“It’s disgraceful that a council which prides itself on being a top LGB-friendly employer should practice such bigotry against a trans worker.

“We call on local authorities to provide training for all headteachers, governors and education managers on how to support LGB and T workers.”

The Equality & Human Rights Commission funded Ms A’s representation at the tribunal.

Andy Baldwin, advocate and co-author of the tribunal cases with Ms A, said:

“We’re disgusted that councillors and senior staff have been colluding since 2003, to defend and then cover-up discrimination with public money. The issue of being accepted as a man or a woman relates to basic human rights.

“The damage and hurt it does to the lives of people like Ms A is terrible. The people involved must account for their actions and reform, or step down.”

Disciplinary order made by the GTC
Hearing of Professional Conduct Committee

On 6 October 2008 a disciplinary order was made against Mr Philip Morgan, teacher reference number 7317631, taking immediate effect.

Mr Morgan was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct in that whilst employed as an Education, Training and Employment Manager by Brighton & Hove City Council he behaved in a manner which amounted to discrimination, more particularly in that he:

i) sent a fax to an educational recruitment agency on 19 November 2003 in which he:

a) referred to a teacher’s change of gender
b) referred to that teacher’s former name
c) referred to the teacher variably as “he”, “him”, “she” and “her”
d) referred to previous proceedings involving this teacher

ii) did not disclose his fax of 19 November 2003 to the teacher

iii) refused to provide the teacher with a second reference

iv) did not hear or appropriately deal with the teacher’s written grievance.

Mr Morgan received a Conditional Registration Order (issued without limit of time). The conditions are that:

i) until such time as conditions ii), iii) and iv) are satisfied, should Mr Morgan accept a role requiring registration as a teacher with the General Teaching Council of England (GTCE), he should inform the Registrar of the GTCE of the role and the employer

ii) before or within six months of starting a role requiring registration as a teacher with the GTCE, Mr Morgan should train through attending and successfully completing a course or courses in equality and diversity awareness, including transgender issues. The training should:

a) be approved by the Registrar,
b) be of at least 3 ½ hours in duration,
c) include training in equality legislation as relevant to employment best practice

iii) the Registrar’s approval under condition ii) a) should be obtained prior to the course being undertaken

iv) within 28 days of the completion of the course, Mr Morgan should supply a certificate or other written proof to the Registrar that he has successfully completed the approved course or courses

v) until the conditions are satisfied, the Committee considers that the public interest requires this conditional registration order to have effect without limit of time.