Winston IVF clinic loses case at tribunal

July 25, 2003

A scientist who was dismissed from her job at Lord Robert Winston's world-renowned fertility unit at Imperial College London just days after she had suffered a fourth miscarriage has won a case against the college at an employment tribunal.

It was not known as The THES went to press whether Saghar Kasiri had won claims for both sex discrimination and unfair dismissal, as the tribunal was still to announce its full judgment. But a date in August has been set for a hearing to determine her compensation, apparently indicating a victory on at least one claim.

Ms Kasiri refused to comment this week, but her solicitor said that her allegations that she was unfairly treated had been upheld.

Lord Winston, broadcaster and professor of fertility studies at Imperial, invited Ms Kasiri to work as an embryologist at Imperial's IVF clinic at Hammersmith Hospital in 1998. But she suffered repeated medical problems with a number of pregnancies.

Ms Kasiri, 31, told a four-day tribunal hearing in March that she had been selected for redundancy from the £31,000-a-year post after suffering four miscarriages in a 19-month period. She said she had been treated "without compassion" by her line managers, Karin Dawson and Suzie Duffy, who saw her absences as "an inconvenience". She said Dr Dawson had "lost patience" with her when she had to take sick leave after the fourth miscarriage.

She was told of her redundancy four days after losing her fourth baby. "I couldn't believe that two managers working for an IVF unit, whose objective is to assist women like me to get pregnant, could be so unsympathetic," she told the tribunal.

Ms Kasiri's solicitor, Teresa Harrison, said: "She has been successful and we are delighted, although that has to be tempered until we know exactly how much the tribunal has accepted her evidence and on which points she has won."

Ms Kasiri told the tribunal that she had failed to find another job since her redundancy in 2002. But she has since given birth to a son.

The tribunal's full judgment is expected within ten days, and a date has been set for a remedies hearing for the end of August.

A spokeswoman for Imperial declined to comment.

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