Male teacher beats rival female to a job due to "strong handshake" tribunal has heard

A tribunal has been told that a female teacher that lost out on a job position at a boarding school was beaten by a male competitor because he had a “strong handshake”.

Male teacher beats rival female to a job: Candidate Neil Crossley got the position of full-time Mathematics teacher over rival Vanaja Greenwood at the prestigious Pinewood boarding school in Bourton near Oxford. The private school charges fees of £21,000 a years for pupils to attend. Head teacher Philip Hoyland looked over both interviews and found Greenwood to be “gentle”. While Crossley had a “firm and strong handshake” that he felt instilled confidence.

Following an employment tribunal in Bristol Mrs Greenwood won her sex discrimination claim against the school. Her claim was that she was a woman and had been passed over for the position. Even though she has a degree in Mathematics, while Mr Crossley was a sports science teacher who had never taught Maths before.

She told the tribunal that she felt “small and belittled” after being informed that a more complete schoolmaster had got the position. The tribunal’s conclusion was that the head teacher’s continual use of the term “schoolmaster” meant that he was only ever going to employ a male for the position.

Finally, it decided that her claim for victimisation, related to her request to increase her working hours, was well-founded. A remedy hearing will be held at a later date. At which any compensation owed to Mrs Greenwood will be decided.


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