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Home bursar’s claims dismissed

AN EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL has rejected a number of complaints made by former home bursar Jean Wright, who sued St Peter’s College for unfair dismissal, public interest disclosure, and disability discrimination.

However, despite the Tribunal’s decision to dismiss the multiple complaints about the college, including discrimination and whistle-blowing, it did agree that St Peter’s could have explored the notion of repairing the relationships that had been damaged by Mrs. Wright’s behavior.

In a statement released by St Peter’s, college master Mark Damaze and current bursar James Graham were keen to underline that “this is the only matter, a procedural one, on which the Tribunal did not rule in the college’s favour.”

Mrs. Wright was dismissed from her role in 2013 after 12 gross misconducts allegations were made against her. 

Mr. Graham and Mr Damaze told Cherwell, “The Tribunal’s judgment was supportive of the view that the College had reasonable grounds for inquiring into Mrs. Wright’s behaviour and for instigating disciplinary procedures.” 

“It also found that the college had reasonable grounds for believing her behaviour fell significantly below acceptable standards on a range of issues. Further the tribunal accepted and understood that the reason why people complained about Mrs. Wright arose from genuine concerns about her behaviour on a number of fronts – and were not connected to any other issue such as the Claimant’s complaints of discrimination which all failed.”

According to the Daily Mail, College Master Mark Damazer – a former controller of BBC Radio 4 – told the Tribunal in Reading that the allegations were “untrue and without foundation”.

He declared that “the College has sought at all times to deal with the claimant’s behaviour and the complaints about her in a fair and ap- propriate way but could not simply ignore so many staff in distress.”

“While I was not directly involved in the decision making process I believe that the claimant was shown on the evidence to have acted in a way which was not only reprehensible in itself but an abuse of power in respect to her subordinates.” 

Mrs. Wright had also declared that she had been suffering from a condition which made her disabled under the Equality Act 2010, although the college said it was not aware of the disability at the relevant time and that, in hind-sight, it was difficult to see what else could have done to accommodate the claimant.

Mrs. Wright could not be contacted on the matter.

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