UoS forced to pay lecturer £2.5 million after not showing up to court
The judge had to award the maximum sum
The University of Southampton has been ordered to pay £2.5 million to a lecturer who claimed he had been discriminated against.
The judge told the court he had no choice but to award Professor Richard Werner the maximum sum as university officials failed to attend the hearing to defend themselves against the accusations.
Professor Werner claims the university discriminated against him for being German and a Christian. A university spokesperson told The Daily Mail they will be applying to have the decision overturned.
Professor Werner maintains he was victimised in a "harassment and bullying" campaign between 2010 and 2018, which consisted of denied leave requests and promotion.
He also said he was not allowed to take a sabbatical to work on a book, unlike his colleagues.
He told the hearing: "I was discriminated against for my religion, belief and race as a German.
"There was a string of incidents including victimisation and harassment. It was related to my beliefs and there was evidence I was being discriminated against because of my nationality and Christianity.
"I was not given holiday pay because of discrimination and as a result I had a big workload. I would have been promoted if it was not for discrimination matters."
Richard Werner was a professor of International Banking at the university before he resigned in July 2018. He claims officials conducted multiple investigations into him.
Robert Halfon, who chairs the Commons Education Committee said the payout would be "an extraordinary abuse and waste of taxpayers’ and students’ money".
Halfon added it was unfair on the "hard-pressed students" who spend "thousands of pounds" paying off their loans.
Judge Mark Emerton, who presided over the case, said he was astonished the university did not attend the 90-minute hearing that was held little over a mile from campus.
Speaking to the professor, Judge Emerton said: "Consider yourself lucky that the university failed to be here today as if they did attend you would have got less because they would have argued some of the claims.
"The university’s failure to engage in the process has been to your considerable advantage."
A UoS spokesman said: "The university strenuously rejects the assertion that any sum is due to Professor Richard Werner."