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PAYOUT IN ORATORY JOB FIGHT; Director of music unfairly dismissed.

Byline: Staff Reporter

THE former director of music at Birmingham's Oratory has won a battle over unfair dismissal after losing his job in a money-saving 'restructuring' scheme.

The Trustees of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri of Birmingham told a city employment tribunal Nicholas Johnson was made redundant following the revamp. Mr Johnson, an organist from Warley, had been at the premises for eight years. He told the tribunal the Oratory was noted for the excellence of its music and the Blessed John Henry Newman had founded the Oratory choir.

But he said there were financial difficulties and that the choir honoraria decreased between 2009 and 2010.

Mr Johnson complained he was eventually dismissed 'in a move to replace me'. He said he was not allowed to appeal against the dismissal and denied a claim he rejected the offer of a role of organist.

Mr Jonathan Meachin opposed Mr Johnson's compensation claim on behalf of the Oratory Trustees. The tribunal was told that the Oratory faced financial problems and Mr Johnson had lost his job following a restructuring scheme. One priest said the Oratory needed to economise, but they did not want to lose Mr Johnson.

Tribunal judge Mr David Kearsley said that following the restructuring there had previously been two people and now there was one.

But he complained Mr Johnson had been dismissed before the end of his three-month notice to leave and he had not been allowed to appeal against his dismissal - which was wrong.

Mr Kearsley added Mr Johnson had been unfairly dismissed and asked if he wanted to be re-engaged at the Oratory despite Mr Meachin explaining his former role was not available.

Mr Johnson replied:"I don't want to go back under a cloud." After a brief adjournment Mr Johnson accepted an undisclosed compensation offer by the Oratory in private.


Redundancy: Nicholas Johnson.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 24, 2012
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