Former Principal Sues Bialik

November 13, 2012 by Michelle Coleman
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former Bialik College school principal is suing the school for millions over his sacking in August of last year.

Joseph Gerassi

Joseph Gerassi, who had been hired by the school in 2009, was given his marching orders abruptly last year because the school Council had “lost confidence” in his ability to lead the school.

In documents filed in the federal court, Gerassi alleges that Bialik College contravened the Fair Work Act and breached his contract by dismissing him. He is seeking compensation not only for the distress his dismissal caused him but also the damage to his reputation and professional standing.

While at the time both Gerassi and Bialik College representatives refused to speak publicly about what prompted the principal’s abrupt dismissal, rumours abounded, particularly because student numbers had risen and the school had been ranked the equal-top performing private school in the VCE under Gerassi’s leadership.

At the time, the Australian Jewish News reported suggestions that Gerassi had clashed with a number of teachers at the school who threatened to resign en masse if he were not removed from the helm. Other rumours surrounded his sexuality – Gerassi was the first openly homosexual principal of an Australian Jewish school.

In a written statement via Gerassi’s lawyer, the former principal said:  “At this stage, I am sure you will understand that it is not appropriate for me to talk about the matter while it is before the Court.  The only thing I would like to say at this point is that I took the decision to take this matter to the Federal Court at great personal cost in an attempt to clear my name and to restore my reputation.  I am looking forward to having the opportunity of giving my side of the story in court, having the issue resolved, putting it behind me and then hopefully being able to move on with my career.”

The hearing is scheduled to begin on 13 February of next year.

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