Staff given a pat on the back by v-c

September 22, 2000

Senior figures at Middlesex University who were criticised by an employment tribunal for unfairly sacking a colleague have been hailed as "a credit to the university" by vice-chancellor Michael Driscoll.

In a defence of staff who were found to have "completely overlooked an essential safeguard" of employees' rights when they dismissed administrator Judith Abrahams, Professor Driscoll said that the managers had "nothing to reproach themselves for". Contradicting the tribunal's findings, he insisted that they "acted professionally at all times".

The THES reported in July that the North London tribunal had found that Mrs Abrahams had been unfairly dismissed in late 1999, largely because a campus dean, Brian Hipkin, wanted to get rid of her for personal reasons. Dr Hipkin had "retained his role as chief investigating officer and decision-maker in order to ensure that Mrs Abrahams was dismissed". Redeployment opportunities had been unsuccessful, partly because of "the pervasive influence of Dr Hipkin".

The tribunal chair criticised then human resources manager, Louise Atkin Cole, for being "a willing accomplice" and said that the conduct of a telephone-based appeal hearing by chairman of governors Sir Michael Partridge meant that "justice was not done".

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