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Merrigan v. University of Gloucestershire


Bristol Employment Tribunal

Kara Loraine represented a Claimant who alleged that because she was raising concerns about financial mismanagement at the university (protected disclosures), the senior management of the university tried to push her out of her job and when that failed she was sidelined from involvement in various projects.
The Tribunal upheld the complaints, finding that although the university had been supportive when the focus of the investigations/disclosures was on one individual Dean who had since left the university, the senior management’s attitude changed when the Claimant made disclosures that implicated others. In particular the Tribunal held that the Dean of the Business School had influenced others to form a negative view of the Claimant because of her disclosures and this was the reason for the attempt to remove her from her job and the sidelining, which were also found to be detriments.
The Claimant was awarded £6,000 for injury to feelings.
Unison Press Release:
UNISON helped a whistleblower win compensation from the University of Gloucestershire after she was sidelined for exposing suspected financial mismanagement.

The Business Development Manager at the University was asked by the University’s former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Paul Bowler, to look into the finances in June 2009. He had been hired to put together a financial recovery plan for the university, which is on the Higher Education and Funding Council for England’s “at risk” list.

After Mr Bowler left the university in November, the attitude of senior staff, including the Vice Chancellor, Head of Finance, Dean of the Business School and Director of Marketing within the university changed towards Mrs Merrigan.

She told the Tribunal that they had colluded against her to was move her off the work she was doing – the recovery plan and financial investigation were effectively suspended.

Bristol Employment Tribunal found yesterday (30 September) that the Dean of the Business School, who was implicated in Mrs Merrigan’s disclosures, influenced the University to take action against Mrs Merrigan.

As a result, the Business Development Manager had suffered at the hands of the University for disclosing information on financial problems and she was awarded compensation of £6,000 for injury to feelings.


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