University Fellow Can Pursue Victimisation Complaints

May 11, 2015

University Fellow Can Pursue Victimisation Complaints

A former university research fellow, who claims that she was victimised by her bosses for making a sex discrimination complaint to an Employment Tribunal (ET), has had her hopes of compensation boosted by a Court of Appeal ruling (Deer v University of Oxford).

The university had settled her sex discrimination claim for £25,000, and she claimed that this lay at the root of all that followed. In particular, she argued that the dismissal of a subsequent grievance and the refusal to give her a reference after she left the university's employ were influenced by her earlier complaint.

She launched a number of claims of victimisation and discrimination against the university, all of which were unsuccessful. However, in allowing her appeal in part, the Court ruled that she should be allowed to proceed with her complaints that she had been treated less favourably during the grievance procedures.

The Court noted that, if she were able to show that the procedures had been applied in a discriminatory manner by reason of her sex discrimination complaint, she would have a 'legitimate sense of injustice' and would be entitled to damages. However, in recognition of apparent weaknesses in her case, the Court directed her to pay a £500 deposit in respect of each of her two remaining complaints before she could renew them before an ET.