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Teacher at football academy wins unfair dismissal claim after being accused of using n-word

In the case of Mr SH v Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club a teacher at Brighton football club’s academy was unfairly sacked for gross misconduct after he was accused of using the n-word towards a colleague.
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In the case of Mr SH v Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club a teacher at Brighton football club’s academy was unfairly sacked for gross misconduct after he was accused of using the n-word towards a colleague.

Mr SH worked part time on Fridays as a teacher at the Brighton and Hove Albion academy between 2014 and 2022.

The tribunal heard that in September 2022 Mr NM – Mr SH’s line manager – claimed that Mr SH had greeted him that morning using the ‘n’ word.

Mr SH denied using that term and apologised if that is what Mr NM thought he had said.

The tribunal was told that had Mr SH used that term, it would have been out of character for him and there had been no similar incidents or concerns during his work there.

Mr SH is also qualified as a social worker as well as a teacher and said there was no anti-racism education at the club’s academy until he initiated anti-racism workshops there.

Mr NM said he came into the education area and claimed Mr SH said, ‘good morning’ and heard a word ending in ‘ger’.

He said: “In shock, disbelief and from what I know of SH’s character I thought I misheard or was mistaken.”

He said Mr SH went into his office a minute or so later and asked if he would like a cup of tea.

A scholar also said they thought he had heard something ending in ‘ger’ but at a meeting that same day Mr NM told Mr SH he thought he had referred to him as a ‘n***er’ – which he wholeheartedly refuted.

Mr SH was suspended before he was sacked.

But the tribunal ruled that the investigation process had not been as robust as it should have been and those ending someone’s career should be trained properly.

Mr SH claimed he was unfairly dismissed, and the tribunal ruled it was unfair.
The tribunal said neither Mr NM nor the scholar were sure that the offensive word had been used but did hear a word ending ‘ger’, Mr SH will now be compensated at a remedy hearing.

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