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London - London Orthodox Teacher Fired For Living With Her Boyfriend Wins Discrimination Case

Published on: December 4, 2017 10:53 AM
By: JTA
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Zelda de Groen, who was unfairly dismissed from her teaching position at Gan Menachem nursery in Hendon (Picture: Instagram)Zelda de Groen, who was unfairly dismissed from her teaching position at Gan Menachem nursery in Hendon (Picture: Instagram)

London - A teacher at a Jewish nursery school in suburban London who said she was fired for living with her boyfriend won her case of religious and sexual discrimination.

Zelda de Groen, 24, sued the Gan Menachem Nursery in Hendon after losing her job in July 2016. She had worked there for four years.

On Friday, the Watford Employment Tribunal said that de Groen’s experience with the school was “undoubtedly humiliating, degrading and offensive.” It dismissed the school’s claims that it was justified in firing her.

The tribunal will hold an additional hearing at an undetermined date to discuss compensation. In her lawsuit, de Groen had asked for more than $26,000.

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The nursery for children under the age of 8 was described as “ultra-Orthodox” in court.

De Groen grew up in a haredi Orthodox home in Stamford Hill in London, but left “after many years of significant discontent.” She moved in with her boyfriend in April 2016. The couple married in July.

In May 2016, they were guests at a barbecue along with some school trustees and parents of pupils. During the event, it became known that the unmarried couple was living together. Some parents spoke to the school about their objections to de Groen’s living situation afterward, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

De Groen told the tribunal that school managers subjected her to a “humiliating” hourlong interview in which they said it was time for her to get married. She also described their tone as “threatening.”

“I was told that having kids outside of marriage is wrong and will not be tolerated. Their comments, and the personal nature of the meeting, were humiliating,” she also said.

De Groen told the tribunal that the nursery told her one solution to the issue would be for her to lie about her living situation.

Two days after the meeting, de Groen asked her managers for an apology but instead was given a letter notifying her of disciplinary proceedings. She was fired a month later.



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Read Comments (27)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Dec 04, 2017 at 11:40 AM dannyboy Says:

Proud of those running the school for standing up for what's right.

2

 Dec 04, 2017 at 11:41 AM Educated Archy Says:

This is a scary precedent for all of us who have children in beis Yakov and yeshivas. We want our child's teacher to be a role model as that's part of our jewish education . These types of lawsuits are a real threat . All the more reason to vote republican so we have people that will respect our high values even if they lack values themselves

3

 Dec 04, 2017 at 12:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Educated Archy Says:

This is a scary precedent for all of us who have children in beis Yakov and yeshivas. We want our child's teacher to be a role model as that's part of our jewish education . These types of lawsuits are a real threat . All the more reason to vote republican so we have people that will respect our high values even if they lack values themselves

Republicans like the president married thee times and makes lurid sexual remarks, or the alabama candidate for senate a pedophile. There are plenty Republican menuvilim

4

 Dec 04, 2017 at 12:44 PM Yossy111 Says:

If she had her "significant discontent" about the Haredi lifestyles, why was she working in a frum school anyway?

The bum wants to have it both ways, and the liberals in "the Watford Employment Tribunal", a kangaroo court, are happy to oblige.

5

 Dec 04, 2017 at 01:00 PM lazy-boy Says:

shame the courts don't understand the religious Jew and his/her understanding of education is not just what is taught, but how one acts in school and out.

She deserved to be fired and not to get any severance pay. She knew well what she was doing was not acceptable to the religious Jewish parents.

6

 Dec 04, 2017 at 01:19 PM anon1m0us Says:

The school is wrong! This woman is not religious and should not have been fired? Do they require this of all their non Jewish teachers?No wonder she left being frum because "after many years of significant discontent.” This just proved her point

7

 Dec 04, 2017 at 01:33 PM honestbroker Says:

Reply to #2  
Educated Archy Says:

This is a scary precedent for all of us who have children in beis Yakov and yeshivas. We want our child's teacher to be a role model as that's part of our jewish education . These types of lawsuits are a real threat . All the more reason to vote republican so we have people that will respect our high values even if they lack values themselves

agreed

8

 Dec 04, 2017 at 02:00 PM Anonymous Says:

The school administrators are the biggest hypocrites, as are many on this site. In our own community, the tolerance of so-called "frum" pedophiles, sexual abusers, wife beaters, abusers of children, white collar theives, etc., goes unabated. In fact, every time one of those perverts is arrested and prosecuted, there are always those on this board, who cry out "anti-semitism", and come to the aid of such wackos. Yet, they want to come down hard on this woman, who wasn't bothering anyone. Her private life (which is not illegal), is nobody's blasted business! Also, if she were a goy, the school would not have fired her.

9

 Dec 04, 2017 at 02:23 PM judith Says:

Yeshivas in England take government funds, that's the difference from American schools. So, the government can dictate certain laws. Since yeshivas in the U.S. don't get government support, they have more independence.

10

 Dec 04, 2017 at 02:32 PM alterknaker Says:

LONDON ORTHODOX TEACHER FIRED,
Is this what you (VIN) calls orthodox?

11

 Dec 04, 2017 at 02:33 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Republicans like the president married thee times and makes lurid sexual remarks, or the alabama candidate for senate a pedophile. There are plenty Republican menuvilim

Huh you totally missed the boat on my comment . I was clear that I don't think republicans are more moral with their own personal lives . However republicans support policy's that ensure that those who wish to live moral lives have the freedom to do so . Republicans will support policy that offers religious freedom . It's not about their own personal immorality .

12

 Dec 04, 2017 at 02:34 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #6  
anon1m0us Says:

The school is wrong! This woman is not religious and should not have been fired? Do they require this of all their non Jewish teachers?No wonder she left being frum because "after many years of significant discontent.” This just proved her point

The school is wrong ?
Huh ? Would you be ok with such a lady teaching your child ? Do
You have children of your own ?

13

 Dec 04, 2017 at 03:12 PM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #2  
Educated Archy Says:

This is a scary precedent for all of us who have children in beis Yakov and yeshivas. We want our child's teacher to be a role model as that's part of our jewish education . These types of lawsuits are a real threat . All the more reason to vote republican so we have people that will respect our high values even if they lack values themselves

Laws on equal protection and discrimination in employment are pretty clear, Archie, both here and in the UK...and generally are not subject to partisan whim.

You often denigrate "laws" and do not understand the role of law in a democracy. So out of ignorance, Archie, you obsess on ad hoc case results, rather than on legal principles. Hence, your comment last week that Nazis should be banned from marching with their flags...and your ignoring repeated questions to set out a common principle or standard you would use to determine what speech you would prohibit.

The woman in this case is not a member of a different religion, which would be a legitimate issue in a parochial school employment case...and there are no allegations of any dress or behavior in school that in any way detracts from her job performance or demeanor.

14

 Dec 04, 2017 at 03:49 PM Chabad mother Says:

Reply to #6  
anon1m0us Says:

The school is wrong! This woman is not religious and should not have been fired? Do they require this of all their non Jewish teachers?No wonder she left being frum because "after many years of significant discontent.” This just proved her point

Yes, the school is wrong.... for hiring an OTD slut in the first place. I hope there is an appeals process.

15

 Dec 04, 2017 at 03:51 PM Wackos Says:

While the school is a chabad run school it caters to many non religious parents. We aren't talking a typical beis yaakov school. Majority of kids in this school aren't frum and neither are the parents. To the commentator who said American yeshivos don't get government funding. Show me one American yeshiva who doesn't get government funding? While they aren't fully funded because they are indeed a religious institution every yeshiva in the US takes and receives money from the government. I see no reason why this school should of fired her. Imagine a religious person teaching in a non frum school and they fired him/her because the person doesn't celebrate secular holidays or go to church. Whatever the case is I am happy this women won.

16

 Dec 04, 2017 at 03:56 PM Frum Attorney Says:

Reply to #2  
Educated Archy Says:

This is a scary precedent for all of us who have children in beis Yakov and yeshivas. We want our child's teacher to be a role model as that's part of our jewish education . These types of lawsuits are a real threat . All the more reason to vote republican so we have people that will respect our high values even if they lack values themselves

This is not a reason to vote Republican. It is a reason to consult an attorney when drafting contracts and employment agreements. It is also a reason to be very careful and circumspect when discharging someone from employment or declining to bake a cake etc. because you do not like their behavior or living arrangements etc.

It is highly unlikely that any Gadol worthy of the title, if consulted, would suggest approaching such a situation in a way that would make someone feel "threatened".

The end result here is a major Chilul Hashem and driving people away from Torah not bringing anyone closer. There is a time to be a Kanoi and time for a soft approach. This was not the former. The results of taking the path chosen are self evident.

We must stand strong against to protect our children but there is a way to do so without being harsh...

17

 Dec 04, 2017 at 04:59 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #13  
yonasonw Says:

Laws on equal protection and discrimination in employment are pretty clear, Archie, both here and in the UK...and generally are not subject to partisan whim.

You often denigrate "laws" and do not understand the role of law in a democracy. So out of ignorance, Archie, you obsess on ad hoc case results, rather than on legal principles. Hence, your comment last week that Nazis should be banned from marching with their flags...and your ignoring repeated questions to set out a common principle or standard you would use to determine what speech you would prohibit.

The woman in this case is not a member of a different religion, which would be a legitimate issue in a parochial school employment case...and there are no allegations of any dress or behavior in school that in any way detracts from her job performance or demeanor.

So you want to go back to that debate . I answered that question clearly . When should free speech be prohibited ?

1) if it calls for violence or references violent symbols such as Nazism or hamas . If all it does is call for others to pray that cancer strick a group it's should not banned
2) if it's done on a large platform not just a comment on a webpage .
3) if it will endanger the country in any slight way like printing gitmo abuses .

So the lines are clear for starters .

Now to the main point .
This girl while Jewish is a bad influence on our children . Part of our child's chinuch is that the person teaching be a respectable role model . An off the derech girl while my heart bleeds for her , is not a role model for our children . It's that simple and it infringes on our religion .

Once Again you are busy with the "law" . And I repeat yossie gestetners line we don't care about the law . Laws were enacted for thousands of years to oppress Jews . We care about what's right not what the law is .

18

 Dec 04, 2017 at 07:10 PM Jordan Jay Says:

Reply to #1  
dannyboy Says:

Proud of those running the school for standing up for what's right.

Great the school ideally likes to operate according to halakha. I find it weird they're getting involved in individuals' lives in the privacy of their home. Do they ask what people eat? Do they eat insects? Do they speak lashon hara? No it's about whether they live together.

In a secular country it's right that the school cannot behave like this. They must operate under the law; no special rules exempt them.

19

 Dec 04, 2017 at 08:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Educated Archy Says:

So you want to go back to that debate . I answered that question clearly . When should free speech be prohibited ?

1) if it calls for violence or references violent symbols such as Nazism or hamas . If all it does is call for others to pray that cancer strick a group it's should not banned
2) if it's done on a large platform not just a comment on a webpage .
3) if it will endanger the country in any slight way like printing gitmo abuses .

So the lines are clear for starters .

Now to the main point .
This girl while Jewish is a bad influence on our children . Part of our child's chinuch is that the person teaching be a respectable role model . An off the derech girl while my heart bleeds for her , is not a role model for our children . It's that simple and it infringes on our religion .

Once Again you are busy with the "law" . And I repeat yossie gestetners line we don't care about the law . Laws were enacted for thousands of years to oppress Jews . We care about what's right not what the law is .

Your ignorant statement we don't care about portrays your lack of education and you fit perfectly with Donald ducky or rather archie bunker. Luckily the supreme court is still around otherwise Yidden would be in a mess. Your continuous posting reveals your lack of knowledge. Go get a minimal education..To gthe Nazis it was right to send Jewish into gas chambers. Fool

20

 Dec 04, 2017 at 09:01 PM yaakov doe Says:

Reply to #17  
Educated Archy Says:

So you want to go back to that debate . I answered that question clearly . When should free speech be prohibited ?

1) if it calls for violence or references violent symbols such as Nazism or hamas . If all it does is call for others to pray that cancer strick a group it's should not banned
2) if it's done on a large platform not just a comment on a webpage .
3) if it will endanger the country in any slight way like printing gitmo abuses .

So the lines are clear for starters .

Now to the main point .
This girl while Jewish is a bad influence on our children . Part of our child's chinuch is that the person teaching be a respectable role model . An off the derech girl while my heart bleeds for her , is not a role model for our children . It's that simple and it infringes on our religion .

Once Again you are busy with the "law" . And I repeat yossie gestetners line we don't care about the law . Laws were enacted for thousands of years to oppress Jews . We care about what's right not what the law is .

Archy, Isn't that man in the White House who you so admire a bad influence on us and our children. He also doesn't care about the law. Laws in this country protect us,

21

 Dec 04, 2017 at 09:13 PM Educated Archy Says:

Reply to #16  
Frum Attorney Says:

This is not a reason to vote Republican. It is a reason to consult an attorney when drafting contracts and employment agreements. It is also a reason to be very careful and circumspect when discharging someone from employment or declining to bake a cake etc. because you do not like their behavior or living arrangements etc.

It is highly unlikely that any Gadol worthy of the title, if consulted, would suggest approaching such a situation in a way that would make someone feel "threatened".

The end result here is a major Chilul Hashem and driving people away from Torah not bringing anyone closer. There is a time to be a Kanoi and time for a soft approach. This was not the former. The results of taking the path chosen are self evident.

We must stand strong against to protect our children but there is a way to do so without being harsh...

Huh ? How do you fire someone without being harsh ? I doubt clauses in a contract help . You can't think of every situation .
And if you are a baker and you religion forbids you to bake that cake once again it's not about the stupid law . Religion
Superceeds law . Let me remind you that the gay cake issue , isn't about baking a cake for someone's brothday who just happens to be gay as well . It's about baking cake for a gay ceremony . And that's kind of a sensible line .

I don't buy your law nonsense . Religion comes first and its republicans that will protect us

22

 Dec 04, 2017 at 10:52 PM anon1m0us Says:

Reply to #14  
Chabad mother Says:

Yes, the school is wrong.... for hiring an OTD slut in the first place. I hope there is an appeals process.

And here I thought Chabad is supposed to Mikarav people. I guess when it is in their own house they have different rules. What a lost opportunity!

23

 Dec 04, 2017 at 10:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Educated Archy Says:

The school is wrong ?
Huh ? Would you be ok with such a lady teaching your child ? Do
You have children of your own ?

YES! I went to yeshivous where majority of the teachers were reform or not jewish! Almost all yeshivous hire teachers who are not "frum". Unfortunately, there are different standards for male and females. A male teacher can sleep around, but is not an issue!

24

 Dec 04, 2017 at 11:34 PM Chaim Says:

To me she looks like a pretty decent role model and the principal must’ve felt the same way when she was hired. I know her family.
Let’s not forget “Dina Demalchisa Dina”.

25

 Dec 05, 2017 at 08:36 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #12  
Educated Archy Says:

The school is wrong ?
Huh ? Would you be ok with such a lady teaching your child ? Do
You have children of your own ?

Not worse than pederasty by a sidelock , black hatted teacher

26

 Dec 05, 2017 at 04:22 PM georgeg Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Republicans like the president married thee times and makes lurid sexual remarks, or the alabama candidate for senate a pedophile. There are plenty Republican menuvilim

The topic is not the personal lives of the politicians. The topic is the respect (but not a "demand") for religion that the politicians (Republicans) will enshrine in law as opposed to politicians (Democrats) that will trash religious rights in law.

27

 Dec 05, 2017 at 04:31 PM georgeg Says:

Reply to #20  
yaakov doe Says:

Archy, Isn't that man in the White House who you so admire a bad influence on us and our children. He also doesn't care about the law. Laws in this country protect us,

Since when are any of the White House presidents a role model? They are not voted in (at least by religious Jews) as a role model. For one obvious reason, they were all Christians and how can a Christian be a role model? They are voted in for what perceived good they can do in the political arena. Period. Same thing, for example, while places like Meah Shearim riot when religious soldiers show up but hardly ever when secular (at least when male) soldiers patrol. The latter are no danger of being a role model.

28

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