Sharon Shoesmith was properly dismissed

Common sense has prevailed at the High Court today as the former director of children’s services at Haringey Council, Sharon Shoesmith, lost her legal fight against dismissal by the local authority following the death of Baby P, Peter Connelly.

Sharon Shoesmith had claimed that her dismissal at the request of Children’s Secretary Ed Balls was ‘procedurally flawed, unfair and unlawful’, and that she had been the victim of a witch-hunt.  The fact is Shoesmith’s department had a track record of failures and at some point the person with responsibility for the performance of the children’s services team had to be held to account.  For too long in this country, too many people who have management responsibility seek to evade the consequences for unacceptable performance.  Shoesmith is one of those people.

Despite her defeat in the High Court, Sharon Shoesmith will now resume her Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination.  It is reported she stands to receive hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation if her claim is upheld.  Shoesmith’s dismissal was for incompetence after her department’s performance had been found to be inadequate. 

Shoesmith’s sacking had nothing to do with her gender and as Mr Justice Foskett has said today, the Secretary of State had been within his rights to sack her from her £130,000 a year job.  It would be a travesty if the Employement Tribunal finds in her favour and rewards her financially for her failures.  Employers should be able to dismiss staff who fail to do their job to the required standard.

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1 Response to “Sharon Shoesmith was properly dismissed”

  1. 1 JohnRS 23/04/2010 at 9:21 pm

    Although he seems to have come to the right decision Mr Justice Foskett also said he dismissed Sharon Shoesmith’s High Court challenge with a “lurking sense of unease” and “I cannot think that any party will truly look back at how matters were handled in this case with complete satisfaction,” he added.

    Looks as if it was a close run thing (in his mind at least) about what decision to come to.


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