Trial after tribulations? Canadian International School management and fired teacher fail to settle in Hong Kong labour hearing

Dispute centres on Nutting’s email to students’ parents after claiming principal was ‘assigned’ one-week leave in March

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 November, 2015, 1:43pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 November, 2015, 11:33am

A Labour Tribunal dispute between the troubled Canadian International School and a former primary section vice-principal fired after speaking out against management will extend to next month as both parties failed to reach a settlement at a hearing today.

Kathy Nutting, who was filing the complaint against the school’s handling of her dismissal, said she was “hopeful” that she and the school would reach a settlement before the next hearing on December 4.

“I feel a little funny about the school continuing to spend money on lawyers when really the money should be spent on the education of children,” said Nutting during the hearing. “I’m very willing to settle.”

READ MORE: Hong Kong Canadian International School faces exodus of pupils after sacking nine teachers

The school also agreed to engage in further discussions with Nutting to try to reach a settlement. The school said “it is not appropriate for the school to comment directly” on the case as it was still before the tribunal.

During the hearing, presiding officer Magistrate Cheng Lim-chi strongly recommended that both sides settle instead of bringing the matter to trial. He said if no settlement was reached before the next hearing and if both sides preferred a trial, he would fix a date for one at the next hearing.

Cheng urged both sides to give concessions and settle at around the midway.

Nutting was fired by the school in March after she sent a mass email to all primary section parents, informing them that the section’s principal Dylan Hughes was “assigned” a one-week leave and might not return. She also told parents that staff members had been through “some turmoil” and “staff morale is at an all time low”.

School principal Gregg Maloberti said in a follow-up email to staff that Hughes was on sick leave and that he could not “express my level of dismay and disappointment” over Nutting’s involving parents in an internal matter.

About two weeks later, Hughes was also sacked for his refusal to comply with his “contractual obligations” to “work cooperatively with the head of school and board of governors”, according to Maloberti.

In June, nine more teachers were dismissed by the school, including the wife of Hughes, the wife of former headmaster Dave McMaster, and the wife of former upper school principal John Jalsevac. The school did not give reasons for the sacking.