Imperial College?s equal opportunities reputation is currently under scrutiny by the Equal Opportunities Commission, following recent allegations made by staff against the college.
The EOC has confirmed, in the Times Higher Educational Supplement this week, that a meeting with Imperial?s Rector, Sir Richard Sykes, is planned for later this month, after it received complaints from female staff, both past and present, against the college. A spokeswoman for the EOC confirmed that they will be looking into the background of the complaints that it has received against the college.
This is in the wake of the victory by Sagar Kasiri, a researcher at the fertility unit headed by Lord Robert Winston, dismissed shortly after her fourth miscarriage, in an industrial tribunal against the college. However, pending the final judgement, we have yet to see whether she won with regards her unfair dismissal case, her sexual discrimination case, or both.
Coupled with this is an investigation by the THES into the case of Henrietta Price, a veterinary surgeon who had the responsibility for looking after the animals in the College?s care, in line with regulations set down by the Home Office. Early last year, she was dismissed for "repeated refusal to recognise the authority of your line manager". Her case of unfair dismissal against the College was settled out of court.
The EOC would not confirm to the THES the number of complaints it had received, but an unofficial pressure group, comprising both current and former disgruntled staff members, has a list of 22 people pursuing complaints against the college, both recently settled and waiting to come to court.
A spokeswoman for the college, said earlier to the THES ?We are meeting the EOC in August and are looking forward to demonstrating that our record in relation to equality complaints is good. The EOC has asked for copies of our equality policies and procedures and for a breakdown of internal complaints and claims lodged at tribunal.? However, they would not release this information to the THES.
A previous report into the issue of sex discrimination at the college found that a staggering 32.9% of female academics had reported at least one form of discrimination in the workplace, whilst 30.6% found that bullying, or the behaviour of their managers, was undermining their career progress.