Teacher rejected for post because he is not Catholic gets £2,000

DENOMINATIONAL schools have been warned not to reserve key posts for Catholic teachers after a landmark legal ruling.

An employment tribunal found in favour of a maths teacher who was turned down for a post at his school because he was not a Roman Catholic.

David McNab, who is an atheist, has been a maths teacher at St Paul's RC High School in Pollok, Glasgow, since 1991.

But when he applied for the post of acting principal teacher of pastoral care 18 months ago, he was told by the headteacher that he could not be considered for the post as he is not a Catholic.

Mr McNab was yesterday awarded 2,000 after the tribunal found he had been "unlawfully discriminated against ... on the grounds of his religion", in contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr McNab said that he was "very happy and elated" at the judgment.

The tribunal had heard that the school had a system of "reserved posts", such as headteacher or guidance teacher, which could be filled only by candidates who were approved by the Catholic Church.

In its ruling yesterday, the tribunal found that the system was not justifiable in law.

However, the tribunal also found that the Catholic Church was allowed to continue its practice of rubber-stamping all teaching appointments in denominational schools.

The Scotsman has learned that the system of "reserved posts" exists in some council areas in the west of Scotland against the wishes of the Catholic Church. A senior church source last night welcomed the findings of the tribunal.

The source said: "Glasgow City Council's interpretation of the law was flawed.

"They said to this man, 'You are excluded from applying because you are not a Catholic' and that is wrong. He should have been allowed to apply."

Mr McNab, who is currently off work due to stress, said he was treated "like a second-class citizen" when he was told he could not apply for the job.

Yesterday, he said: "I'm very glad that the law has been seen to apply to everybody universally. I hope this case brings the system of reserved posts to an end."

Jonathan Cornwell, Mr McNab's solicitor, said: "I'm happy that the tribunal has made the right decision."

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council would not rule out the possibility that the local authority might appeal against the decision.

She said: "We are currently looking closely at the fine detail of the judgment.

"There are further possible legal options open to the council and, as such, we are unable to offer any detailed response on this case at this point in time."

Back to the top of the page