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Gay academic was unfairly dismissed from Oxford Islamic Centre but not due to his sexuality, tribunal rules

Camilla Turner
·2-min read
Dr Kevin Fogg claimed that he had been unfairly dismissed from the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies
Dr Kevin Fogg claimed that he had been unfairly dismissed from the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies

A gay academic was unfairly dismissed from the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies but not because of his sexuality, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Dr Kevin Fogg, 37, claimed that he had been unfairly dismissed from the centre and that the fact that he is a bi-sexual man who is in a homosexual relationship “did not comply” with the preference of its main funders.

In his employment tribunal, which took place in October, he argued that he was a victim of direct age discrimination as well as indirect discrimination due to his sexual orientation.

Dr Fogg, an expert in the history of Islam in south east Asia, claimed he was dismissed from his post at the Centre in 2018 after spending five years there as a research fellow.

But employment Judge Anstis dismissed Dr Fogg’s claims of sexual orientation discrimination, as well as his claims about age discrimination. Claims of wrongful dismissal or breach of contract were also thrown out.

The judge found that Dr Fogg was a permanent employee of the centre and had been unfairly dismissed.

Judge Anstis concluded: “The claimant was dismissed for a reason relating to his capability. His dismissal was unfair because he was never warned that in order for his contract to be renewed it was necessary for him to have his book accepted for publication by the time of the review.”

The Centre, which was granted a Royal Charter by the Queen in 2012 and boasts the Prince of Wales as its patron, is classified as a “recognised independent centre of the University of Oxford”.

This means that while it is not officially part of the university, it closely collaborates on research and teaching and has dozens of masters of Oxford colleges on its academic advisory committee.

These include Alan Rusbridger, the principal of Lady Margaret Hall and Dame Helen Ghosh, the master of Balliol College.

A spokesman for The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies said: "We have said from the beginning that the allegations of victimisation and discrimination based on age and sexual-orientation made against us were utterly without foundation. We are glad that they have been entirely dismissed as untrue by the employment Judge in this case.

"We note the employment tribunal’s finding that we should have communicated better with Dr Fogg in terms of his academic duties and we will be reviewing our policies accordingly."