Dr Fanis Missirlis worked as a lecturer in cell biology at Queen Mary University’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences until he was made redundant in June 2012. Dr Missirlis, who had previous to his redundancy been an outspoken critic of the university’s means of assessing academics’ research records, alleged that there had not been a genuine redundancy situation and that his employer had simply been trying to dismiss him because of the objections that he had raised to the rating process. After being made redundant Dr Missirlis made an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal and the case came to the Employment Tribunal earlier this month.
Dr Missirlis, who now works for the Center for Research and Advanced Studies at the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico, gave evidence at the Employment Tribunal that he had criticized the assessment of academics’ research records as unfair, flawed, damaging to teaching, and inequitable, and that he believed that he had been targeted in the round of redundancies because of his protests. He stated that there was documentary evidence that – two weeks after he had been made redundant – a new position at the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences had been created – a position that was ‘indistinguishable’ from his role at the school. Professor Evans, giving evidence for the university, stated that Dr Missirlis had not in fact been targeted and that there had been a restructuring of the school to better exploit the funding opportunities that were available, so as to make Queen Mary’s “competitive with the most research-intensive universities in the UK and the world”.
The Employment Tribunal was due to conclude on 17 January 2014 and a judgment will be handed down by the Employment Tribunal later this year.