28 May 2020

Arsenal Women handed £50,000 fine for ‘act of discrimination’ over dismissal of former coach

Arsenal Women have been fined £50,000 after their dismissal of former coach Robin Carpenter was ruled ’an act of discrimination’ because it was ’by reason of a disability’.

Carpenter was dismissed by the Super League side in 2014 having been in charge of the Under-15 side for seven years but later started proceedings alleging his dismissal had been unfair.

In 2013, he had disclosed to John Bayer, the technical director at Arsenal’s centre of excellence, that he believed he had autism, a condition which was confirmed in 2014.

Bayer had passed this information on to the club’s development manager, Clare Wheatley and the trio met to discuss the impact the diagnosis may have.

Within five days of the initial disclosure Carpenter was informed he had be dismissed from his role and was given four weeks’ notice.

After reaching a settlement in 2015, he was paid £17,200 (before tax) with the club insisting this had been for ’commercial reasons’ rather than an acceptance of unfair dismissal.

Despite the club denying all allegations, an independent regulatory commission has now ruled Arsenal ’treated him less favourably than they would have treated an employee without disability’.

A Football Association statement said: "Arsenal Women FC has been fined £50,000 and members of its staff are required to undertake an education programme following a breach of FA Rule E4.

"The club denied an allegation that, in dismissing an employee, it carried out an act of discrimination by reason of disability that was not otherwise permitted both by law and the rules and regulations of the FA.

"However, it was subsequently found proven by an independent regulatory commission."

Following the ruling, the club released a statement sharing their disappointment at the decision.

"Ensuring we have an inclusive environment is central to what we stand for as a football club," it said.

"We are very disappointed by this decision as we sincerely believe there was no discrimination in this case.

"However, we accept the outcome and will continue our mission to make Arsenal a welcoming and inclusive organisation for everyone."

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