Taylor wants interim reinstatement

TINA LAW
Last updated 12:12 07/11/2012

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Sacked Christchurch Girls' High School principal Prue Taylor wants her job back and is seeking interim reinstatement through the Employment Relations Authority.

Taylor, who was fired by the school's board last Friday, said today ''it would be great'' to be back in the job by the end of the year.

''Obviously the sooner the better, but time is ticking by and it will take time for this to go through.''

She was finalising documents with her lawyer before making an application with the authority.

Taylor said interim reinstatement would reduce the uncertainty faced by the school.

''The school has been very unsettled by all of this,'' she said.

''I'm really anxious about the uncertainty all around this at the moment for the staff and the students at the end of the year.''

She was concerned pupils and staff could finish the year not knowing what was going on at their school.

She said a final decision was obviously up to the authority.

Taylor said she was ''absolutely overwhelmed'' at the support shown to her by pupils, parents, staff, colleagues and family.

Kathryn Dalziel, an employment law specialist and partner at Christchurch law firm Taylor Shaw, said Taylor could make an order to the authority for interim reinstatement of her job but had to prove she had an arguable case for unjustified dismissal.

Taylor would also have to prove that no compensation would be enough to compensate her for the loss of her job, Dalziel said.

She said a request for interim reinstatement was usually done within 48 hours after a dismissal, and the board would then be asked to file its defence before the authority held a hearing to make a decision.

The process was usually completed within one or two weeks, she said.

If successful, the reinstatement would be temporary. A decision on a permanent reinstatement would be decided by a full court hearing.

The hearing would also look at any other complaint Taylor decided to make, which could include unjustified dismissal and compensation for damages, humiliation and distress.

Interim reinstatement used to be common but a law change in April last year made it more difficult to have one granted, Dalziel said.

Taylor had 90 days to raise a personal grievance with the board.

The parties could then go into mediation, but the board confirmed on Monday that it had already been involved in mediation with Taylor.

Dalziel said the burden was on the board to prove it had acted as a fair and reasonable employer and it had enough grounds to terminate Taylor's employment.

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Some people negotiated exit packages with their employers, but an agreement usually prevented the person from fighting the dismissal in the Employment Court.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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