If Teacher X had been living in a civilised Western country he would probably have won a claim for unfair dismissal, after the HCT college he worked for sacked him following several contrived complaints from his pampered Emirati students.
Teacher X had worked for HCT for almost ten years before he was dismissed in June last year for gross misconduct. The teacher claims that the complaints made against him were wholly unfair, and that the college conflated several allegations against him into a single charge of gross misconduct, even though he had previously been cleared of two of the allegations.
The first allegation of misconduct related to an incident that happened in September 2008, when a disruptive 17-year-old Emirati boy alleged that Teacher X pushed a desk at him. The teacher claimed that he merely moved the table to make more room in the aisle, and that the boy made a dramatic gesture of being pushed to the floor by the table.
The disruptive boy lodged a complaint with the HCT management, who ‘investigated’ the case, but the teacher was found to be completely innocent of any wrongdoing.
Later the same year Teacher X was involved in another accusation of apparent misdemeanour. After escorting a disruptive pupil outside the classroom, another student came out of the class and tapped him on the shoulder. Teacher X naturally assumed it was an attempt to provoke him, and shouted at the boy to get back in class.
The boy decided to report the ‘incident’, and the teacher agreed to apologise verbally. The college management also appeared to consider the matter closed, and made no big deal of the allegation.
However, three months later another boy alleged that Teacher X had pushed him against a classroom wall at the end of a class. Although there were no witnesses, the boy's word was taken as fact by the management, and a verbal warning was given ... to the teacher.
One week later, Teacher X had to physically restrain the same boy after he tried to enter a room in which his friend was doing an assessed test. Teacher X stood in the doorway to block the boy’s entrance, and when the boy tried to duck under him, the teacher pushed him back.
Once more there was a complaint made against the teacher, this time for ‘assault’, and the matter was looked into by the college management.
Teacher X claimed that the other students in the classroom were asked to make statements about the incident, but, quite strangely, he wasn't. In his opinion, the whole procedure was a farce, purely designed to effect a dismissal. His case was ‘investigated’ by the college management with a clear view to making Teacher X appear guilty without bothering to ascertain the facts.
The HCT management cravenly rolled all of the allegations together, even though two of them had been proven to be false, and produced a fabricated and conflated charge of ‘gross misconduct’. In summary, the teacher was fired without even being given the right to defend himself.
This is the sort of treatment you can expect at HCT. If the management feel that you are making too much work for them, they will contrive to have you sacked. They are not interested in discovering the facts of a case, just in hushing it up as swiftly as possible. They will perceive the teacher as being the cause of the trouble, rather than the students, and will lose no time in getting you out the door. Nobody will offer any support, as other managers and faculty are scared of being seen to support a ‘lame duck’ – even if you have an unblemished nine-year record!
The HCT culture is one of FEAR, and this stretches to every corner of every college. The students can smell this fear, and some of the younger ones will exploit it for their own benefit, as we have seen in this case.
The message is therefore very clear - Avoid HCT!