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David Miller was wrongfully dismissed from the University of Bristol, tribunal rules

In a judgment delivered today, the Bristol Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of David Miller's claim that he was unfairly and wrongfully dismissed from the University of Bristol.

By Roya Shahidi, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The Bristol Employment Tribunal has ruled in favour of David Miller's claim that he was unfairly and wrongfully dismissed from the University of Bristol.

The judgment concludes David Miller's claim against the University of Bristol following the termination of his position as a Sociology professor on 1 October 2021.

His dismissal in 2021 was due to backlash against comments he made regarding Israel and Jewish students at the University of Bristol.

The judgment ruled in favour of David Miller's claim that his 'anti-Zionist beliefs qualified as a philosophical belief and as a protected characteristic' under section 10 of the Equality Act 2010.

He also succeeded in his claim against the university for 'unfair dismissal' and 'wrongful dismissal (failure to pay notice)'.

His claims for indirect and direct discrimination failed.

In a statement following the ruling, David Miller commented: '[...] Before I took my case, it was unclear whether a belief in the idea that Zionism is a racist, imperialist, and colonial ideology could be protected under the Equality Act 2010 as a philosophical belief.

'I’m proud to say that, with this case, we have proven that anti-Zionist beliefs, of the sort that I articulated, should be protected.'

The Union of Jewish Students has released a statement expressing their disappointment towards the judgment:

'UJS is disappointed by the Employment Tribunal's judgment in relation to David Miller. UJS believes this may set a dangerous precedent about what can be lawfully said on campus about Jewish students and the societies at the centre of their social life.'

They added that it 'will ultimately make Jewish students feel less safe.'

A University of Bristol spokesperson said: 'The University of Bristol acknowledges the judgment of the Employment Tribunal but is disappointed with its findings.

'After a full investigation and careful deliberation, the University concluded that Dr Miller did not meet the standards of behaviour we expect from our staff in relation to comments he made in February 2021 about students and student societies linked to the University. As a result and considering our responsibilities to our students and the wider University community, his employment was terminated. 

'We recognise that these matters have caused deep concern for many, and that members of our community hold very different views from one another. We would, therefore, encourage everyone to respond in a responsible and sensitive way in the current climate.

'The University of Bristol remains committed to fostering a positive working and learning environment that enriches lives and where the essential principles of academic freedom are preserved.

'The University is reviewing the tribunal’s lengthy judgment carefully and in light of that review, it would not be appropriate to comment further.'

Featured image / Jewish News

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