A teacher at a Jewish nursery in North London claims she was sacked for living with her boyfriend before they were married.
The 24 year-old was told that cohabiting or having children with someone who was not her husband would “not be tolerated” in the workplace, she alleges. Although she has since married her boyfriend, she still intends to sue the school for more than £20,000 in compensation for sexual and religious discrimination.
She had worked for the “ultra-Orthodox” nursery since 2012, having initially started on a temporary basis. By April of last year she was a permanent member of staff and it was then she moved in with her boyfriend, a business consultant based in Central London.
One month after the couple had started living together, they were invited to a barbecue along with a number of the nursery children’s parents and the owner of the institution. At this event, the teacher told people that the two of them had moved in together. She claims there wasn’t “any negative reaction to [her] comment from anyone at the barbecue” so she did not think any more of it.
However, four weeks later she was taken out of her classroom and interviewed about her personal life by the headteacher and the nursery manager. The two engaged in “a continuous personal attack on [her] life choices” during which she was told she was old enough to be married already and that cohabitation was “against what people in [her] workplace should do”. She claims the hour-long interview was “humiliating” because she had adhered to the nursery’s ultra-Orthodox teachings but felt she was “being punished in [her] professional life for a private issue that was entirely separate to [her] work”.
She was allegedly told that she had damaged the nursery’s reputation and was later terminated from her teaching position. Officials at the nursery deny the woman’s claims of discrimination. The case continues.