A lecturer who was made redundant from a top London university in 2012 has made a claim to the Employment Tribunal after alleging that his redundancy was ‘rigged’.
Dr Fanis Missirlis was employed as a lecturer in cell biology at Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences until he was made redundant in June 2012. Dr Missirlis, who was previously critical of the process that Queen Mary’s University had used to assess the research record of academics, subsequently alleged that the metrics used to score lecturers in the redundancy process was flawed and that he had been singled out for redundancy because of his record of challenging assessment processes. He made a claim to the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal in 2012 and the claim came to the Employment Tribunal earlier this year after a delay of 18 months.
The Employment Tribunal heard evidence from both parties during the hearing, which was held earlier this month. Dr Missirlis gave evidence at the Tribunal that he did not believe that his position at the university was genuinely redundant as the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences advertised for a position which was indistinguishable from his just two weeks after he had been made redundant. He also claimed that he believed that he had been made redundant because of his vocal opposition to the process that the university used to assess the research record of academics at the institution, with the criteria used for assessment based on paper output, the quality of journals that papers were submitted to, and the grant income that academics managed to achieve. However, Professor Evans (head of the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences) challenged the evidence that Dr Missirlis gave, stating that another lecturer had in fact been employed but that this was in line with the school’s drive to change the number of academics in different fields. Further, whereas Dr Missirlis had been employed in “organismal biology”, the newly-recruited lecturer dealt with “cell biology”.
Chris Hadrill, an employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Dr Missirlis is challenging the genuineness of the redundancy in this situation, claiming that he was dismissed as a result of his track record of opposition rather than because his position was actually redundant. This can be a difficult claim to make as the Employment Tribunal will often be unwilling to assess the Respondent’s business decisions unless there is clear and incontrovertible evidence that the redundancy is a sham.”
The Employment Tribunal was due to conclude last week and a judgment will be handed down to the parties in the coming weeks.
Please note that Redmans are not associated with this case in any way and do not represent either of the parties in this litigation