Jennifer and Damien Markey will take their case to tribunal

The couple sacked over alleged leaks had their appeal thrown out by the University of Bolton last week

May 14, 2015

Source: Cascade News

Action: protests have supported Damien (above) and Jennifer Markey

Two former employees of the University of Bolton, sacked for allegedly leaking information to the press, are to take their cases to an employment tribunal, Times Higher Education understands, after the North West institution rejected their appeals.

Jennifer Markey, an academic administrator in the health and community studies department, and her husband, Damien Markey, a senior lecturer in visual effects for film and television, deny any involvement in leaking stories.

According to the University and College Union, Mr Markey has also been told that his dismissal was related to concerns that he raised in an internal review about spending on the institution’s Centre for Advanced Performance Engineering – a department that focuses on motorsport and supercars.

Both Mr and Mrs Markey appealed against their dismissals and each received a hearing last month. On 7 May, the university confirmed that it had upheld the sackings.

Martyn Moss, North West regional official for the UCU, which is representing Mr Markey, said that staff at the university were “deeply upset” about what had happened and that the union intended to submit an application for an employment tribunal as soon as possible.

Kevan Nelson, North West regional secretary of the Unison union, which is representing Mrs Markey, described the “arbitrary treatment of Jennifer” as “an abuse of power”.

“We will be seeking legal redress and will be stepping up our campaign to expose this terrible injustice,” he added.

In an email (seen by THE) sent to staff at Bolton shortly after the appeals were thrown out, vice-chancellor George Holmes said that after a “comprehensive re-hearing of these cases, the decision to dismiss the individuals was affirmed”.

He wrote: “I am conscious that there has been widespread publicity associated with these events, including physical protests outside campus and union activity in support of the two individuals concerned. I wish to reassure you that the university has followed due process with the benefit of legal advice.

“The university regards the matter as now concluded and we will continue as always to focus upon the significant plans we have to strengthen our university.”

In the email, Professor Holmes makes reference to awaydays at the Lakeside resort in the Lake District. The £100,000 cost of these trips, paid for by the university and first reported by THE, is said to be one of the stories that Mr and Mrs Markey are accused of leaking.

THE has confirmed that they were not the source.

“Your commitment to our strategy, as was so evident at the Lakeside events, will mean that together we will achieve great things for our students, our university and the town of Bolton,” Professor Holmes said in his email.

“You will appreciate that the university is unable to share with you the details of the cases, out of respect for the confidentiality of the process and the privacy rights of those involved,” he added.

Trade unions have organised a rally in support of Mr and Mrs Markey, scheduled to take place in Bolton town centre on Saturday 16 May.

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