Southampton university to fight £3.5m tribunal ruling

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Professor Richard A. WernerImage source,
Image caption,
Professor Richard Werner coined the phrase "quantitative easing (QE)", which became widely used during the global economic crisis of 2007-2008.

A university has begun legal proceedings to fight an order to pay nearly £3.5m to a former professor who said he was discriminated against.

Richard Werner told a tribunal he was harassed and discriminated against for being German and a Christian, while at the University of Southampton.

The university failed to turn up to the tribunal last week, which led to the unusually high sum being awarded.

It has begun an "urgent investigation" into why it failed to respond.

In his employment tribunal judgement report, Judge Mark Emerton said Prof Werner's claims were well founded and the "respondent unreasonably failed to comply with the applicable Acas code of practice".

He ordered the university to pay a total of £3,449,328.54 in compensation following the hearing at the West Hampshire Magistrates' Court in Southampton.

Prof Werner, known for coining the phrase "quantitative easing", worked as a professor of international banking at the university from 2004 until 2018.

The 52-year-old economist, who lives in Winchester, said: "Unfortunately, presently I am not at liberty to discuss any particulars concerning the case, however that position may change over the coming days."

The university now has 42 days to appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (ETA).

A spokesman said: "The University of Southampton has ordered an urgent investigation by its independent auditors into why it was not able to present its evidence at the tribunal.

"The university categorically rejects the claims made by Mr Werner and has commenced legal proceedings to get the judgment overturned."

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