Tribunal decision

February 4, 2000

A college head of department who was sacked following accusations she made lesbian advances towards two of her staff has won her unfair dismissal claim.

Mary Collins, former head of the school of sport and leisure at Glasgow College of Nautical Studies, took the college to an employment tribunal after she was sacked for "gross sexual harassment". She denied the claims, dismissing them as nonsense.

An investigation was launched after senior lecturer Kirsty Ewing claimed Ms Collins had tried to touch and kiss her when she went to her house to try to get her to stop making phone calls to another lecturer, Karyn Loudon.

She also claimed that Ms Collins told her she was gay and asked her if she was a lesbian.

Ms Loudon claimed her boss tried to seduce her, then pestered her with phone calls.

Ms Collins spoke of her "disgust, disbelief, shock and anger" when she read the statements against her. She said she had given Ms Loudon a "reassuring hug" but denied sexual harassment.

Ms Collins complained she was not given a chance to raise crucial issues at her disciplinary hearing, and union representative Lachlan Bradley said he thought the two lecturers' statements had been written together.

The tribunal's decision is critical of the procedure followed by the college. Ms Collins's sex discrimination claim was withdrawn.

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