Lecturer loses claim for parity with full-timer

June 4, 2009

A part-time academic who accused her university of discrimination has lost her case after an attempt to compare herself to a full-time colleague failed.

Kaye Carl, a journalism lecturer, sued the University of Sheffield with the support of the University and College Union for breaching part-time workers' regulations, claiming that she was not paid for preparation time whereas lecturers in full-time posts were.

She said she was paid less pro rata than a comparator, Nora McClelland, a full-time lecturer in the department of sociological studies.

However, the university argued that Ms McClelland's role was "not even broadly similar" to that of Ms Carl, whose teaching was, it said, "purely vocational".

Ms McClelland had two MA degrees and was preparing for a PhD and taught up to PhD level, while Ms Carl had a BEd and taught to A-level standard, it said.

Ms Carl's lawyer referred to a case in which differences between the work of full-time and part-time firefighters were found by a court to be less important than the fact that they both fought fires.

He argued that the court should focus on the similarities between the two academics rather than the differences.

But the Employment Appeal Tribunal said the differences in their skills, qualifications and educational achievements meant that there was no true comparison between the pair.

Ms Carl said the judgment was "ludicrous" and meant that "thousands of part-timers will never be able to make a claim under the regulations for discrimination".

She added that many hourly paid part-timers did not have time allocated for training, did not have appraisals and were not on the salary scale of their full-time colleagues.

A spokesman for Sheffield said the university was pleased with the outcome of the appeal tribunal. He added that Sheffield "wishes to continue to work with Ms Carl in a positive and constructive manner".


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