DR.RHETTA MORAN, whose research into what was really happening to asylum seekers was widely acclaimed, but must have annoyed the government, and thus perhaps embarrassed her employers, the University of Salford, will face a tribunal hearing tomorrow.
She has already lost her job, and was unable to obtain re-instatement from the tribunal, despite backing from her union, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), and from other trades unionists.
But now she is being pursued for legal costs of up to £10,000 by Salford University. NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear says the university's actions are "unjust and unfair". But Prof Michael Harloe, Salford's vice-chancellor, says: "Dr Moran's litigation has diverted scarce resources. As we are substantially publicly funded, the university is obliged to recover costs under these circumstances."
Expert faces £10,000 legal bill, Neal Keeling, Manchester Evening News.
Obliged to whom? The research project on which Rhetta Moran worked was government funded. Why was it so necessary to make her "redundant"? And who decided that the university had to spend so much money fighting the case?
Rhetta Moran has provided a public service by bringing out the truth about an issue on which media and government often tell lies. She has helped highly vulnerable individuals who would otherwise have been left to suffer unseen. If Salford University were dedicated to light and truth it would have valued her work and example to students.
Instead the university has prevented her continuing the work, thus perhaps ingratiating itself with the powers that be but doing little to enhance its good name. If it now proceeds with its claim, and succeeds, Dr.Moran will not only be out of a job, as she has been for three years, but saddled with a heavy bill.
Jeremy Dear condemns the university's 'vindictive actions' in trying to recover costs. As he says: "The university is seeking to penalise someone who believes they were wrongly removed from their job."
For employers and employees throughout the land the message that will go out if Salford succeeds in this vindictive action is "Anyone who dares try to defend themselves and their job by going through the procedures is liable to find themselves victimised not just once, but twice, punished for trying to fight their case.
You can write to Professor Michael Harloe at firstname.lastname@example.org,
urging that the university drops its claim,
and cc your e-mail to email@example.com
You can also sign a petition at