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Marginalised university whistleblower wins £6,000 damages

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A business development manager at the University of Gloucestershire has won £6,000 damages after she was given an "ultimatum" to move departments after she blew the whistle on financial mismanagement in the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Sciences.

Janet Merrigan alleged faculty budgets were being blown on excessive staff pay, overseas travel and consultancy fees.

She claims that after she made the disclosures in a series of emails and conversations with bosses in June 2009 files were removed from her computer and she was excluded from meetings and sidelined in her role.

She complained about the adverse treatment using the university's internal grievance procedure, but her complaint was dismissed in January.

Following the four-day hearing before an employment tribunal in Bristol, Ms Merrigan said: "I am delighted I have won, but most importantly that my concerns were taken seriously.

"I never wanted to take my case to an external tribunal, but the internal procedures were flawed and, despite my best efforts, the university did not want to hear what I had to say, or address my serious concerns over financial flaws.

"I want to carry on doing a job that I love and for the university to learn from this experience and make sure no-one has to take a case like this again."

A spokesperson said the university is considering whether to appeal against the verdict. "Although a number of extremely serious and spurious allegations were made by Ms Merrigan in respect of financial irregularities within the university, these were neither upheld nor featured in the verdict."

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