An employment tribunal in Leicester has awarded a Cambridge graduated, Physics University lecturer £14,429.22 (€16,500) after hearing Dr Binoy Sobnack was removed from his role as warden of a hall of residence at Loughborough University following complaints that his use of ‘multiple punctuation marks’ created an ‘intimidating’ tone according the the Metro.
Dr Binoy Sobnack was accused of unprofessional behaviour towards sub-wardens who helped him take care of his students. Messages sent by Dr Sobnack included one which featured six question marks: ‘Why don’t you listen?????? Stick to what has been decided!’
The university received two complaints against him, in July 2018 and April 2019, with sub-wardens accusing him of sending them ‘aggressive’ messages. These included a text saying: ‘Why don’t you listen?????? Stick to what has been decided!’ and another – when a colleague informed him she had to attend a meeting – which read ‘Do you have to stay for dinner????’. The sub-warden complained the messages were humiliating and that Dr Sobnack created an ‘inappropriate’ tone by using so many question marks.
In March 2020 Dr Sobnack was removed from his role and he then sued the University for unfair dismissal.
Judge Adkinson at the Employment tribunal concluded that the university’s decision to sack him was wrong because many of the allegations made against him were unproven. However, in finding in his favour, the judge ruled that Dr Sobnack had contributed to his dismissal.
He has since been re-instated at the University and the Employment Tribunal has awarded him €16,500 in compensation.
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