Southampton to fight £3.4 million payout ruling for ex-professor

University launches ‘urgent investigation’ into why it was not represented at tribunal

June 14, 2019
Pile of British currency notes (pounds)

The University of Southampton is to fight an employment tribunal ruling that it should pay compensation of £3.4 million to a former professor.

Richard Werner was awarded the sum at a hearing in Southampton which was conducted without representation from the university.

Professor Werner was professor of international banking at Southampton until July last year. He claimed that he was harassed and discriminated against for being German and a Christian.

Judge Mark Emerton found his claims to be “well-founded” and that Southampton had “failed to comply with the applicable [Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service] code of practice”.

Professor Werner’s claims were for wrongful and unfair dismissal, failure to pay holiday pay, direct and indirect religion or belief discrimination, direct and indirect race discrimination, as well as harassment relating to religion or belief and race and victimisation.

He told the BBC: “Unfortunately, presently I am not at liberty to discuss any particulars concerning the case, however that position may change over the coming days.”

A Southampton spokesman said the university had “ordered an urgent investigation by its independent auditors into why it was not able to present its evidence at the tribunal”.

“The university categorically rejects the claims made by Mr Werner and is commencing legal proceedings to get the judgment overturned,” the spokesman said.

The compensation figure includes unpaid holiday pay, future loss of earnings and loss of external earning opportunities. The university’s absence from the hearing was a key factor behind the unusually large sum being awarded.

The term “quantitative easing” is attributed to Professor Werner, whose book Princes of Yen was a number one bestseller in Japan.

nick.mayo@timeshighereducation.com

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