Baroness Greenfield to take Royal Institute to tribunal over redundancy
Baroness Greenfield, the UK's most prominent female scientist, is to sue for sex discrimination after being ousted as director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain (RI).
The RI made the neurologist and peer redundant on Friday after claiming it could no longer afford a full-time director. In a statement, the RI said it had decided to abolish the role of director following a governance review and paid tribute to the “leading role” that Baroness Greenfield had played at the RI.
However, Baroness Greenfield said she would take her former employers to an employment tribunal to contest the legality of their decision, and said her claim would include allegations of sexual discrimination.
The Royal Institute, founded by Michael Faraday, is one of Britain's oldest and most respected scientific institutions. It has been in financial crisis since incurring huge losses from a major refurbishment project led by Lady Greenfield.
The £22m project to refit its 18th century buildings in Mayfair, and provide them with a state-of-the-art conference facility, upmarket restaurant and bar, was agreed by it’s the RI’s council as a way to attract more people to visit the site and become aware of the organisation’s work. However, the refit has left the RI with £3m debts.
Baroness Greenfield has a reputation as one of Britain's most colourful and influential scientists, with supporters saying she has made great strides in popularising science. Her position was abolished after a management review concluded that the RI’s troubled finances could no longer support a full-time director.
As Baroness Greenfield was made redundant and not dismissed, the RI cannot appoint another senior scientist to an equivalent role. It is now to be led by its chief executive, Chris Rofe.
Added the 11 January 2010 in category Innovation News