AN OXFORD professor forced to give up the job he loved has been reinstated and awarded nearly £30,000 in compensation.

Professor Paul Ewart won a landmark age discrimination case against Oxford University at the end of last year.

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A tribunal found the scientist, who was made to leave his post as head of atomic and laser physics before his 70th birthday had been discriminated against on the grounds of age when his contract was not renewed in September 2017.

This was done under the University’s application of its Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) policy, aimed at making way for younger staff.

Oxford Mail:

Oxford's Clarendon Laboratory, where Professor Ewart was head of atomic and laser physics.

A remedy hearing in Reading last month has now ordered the University to pay Professor Ewart the salary he would have received between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2020 as a senior researcher.

He was also awarded compensation of £22,500 for 'injury to feelings' plus £7,110 in interest, as well as being reemployed as a senior lecturer, a position he intends to hold until for a year.

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The University had argued against reinstating Professor Ewart, saying his position no longer existed, but a judgement from the tribunal said: “His work cannot be the same as he left off, but that is not to say that he cannot be reinstated and continue to act in the role with his former distinction.

“Given the respondent’s emphasis on cutting-edge research, the claimant’s role will never at any point in his career have been the same as it was three years previously.

“That is not a reason to say that reinstatement is not practicable.

Oxford Mail:

Professor Paul Ewart

The tribunal last year ruled Professor Ewart’s dismissal as unlawful and said the University’s EJRA policy was ‘highly discriminatory’ with little evidence it had worked.

It was in contrast, however, to the judgment in another case involving the University’s retirement age, with a tribunal ruling the policy was justified in the case of English professor John Pitcher.

Oxford University has lodged an appeal against the tribunal’s finding in Professor Ewart’s case.

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An Oxford University spokesperson said:“The University has reviewed in detail the 2019 Employment Tribunal decision regarding Professor Paul Ewart and Oxford’s EJRA policy.

"This decision followed an earlier Employment Tribunal, on a separate case but of equal legal weighting, which ruled in favour of the Oxford EJRA.

"The University has decided it does not accept the more recent tribunal’s ruling and will be appealing against it.

"The EJRA policy remains in place and will continue to be applied as normal.”