Reinstate Casey Brienza!

My friend Casey Brienza has been dismissed from her post at City University, London. So she must have done something bad, right? Actually, no. Isn’t that an ‘unfair dismissal’? It is indeed – but thanks to a change in the law made by the coalition government, it is no longer possible (except under certain very limited circumstances) to bring a case for unfair dismissal to tribunal for an employee with less than 24 months’ service, which means that if you have – like Casey – been with your employer for under two years, your employment rights are effectively nil.

Casey’s a great scholar and a great teacher, and she has the support of almost all her departmental colleagues. If you don’t think that what’s happening to her is okay, sign the petition.

3 thoughts on “Reinstate Casey Brienza!”

  1. Wow. This sounds really serious. It is terrifying how fragile us academics are in the current regime.

    You say very little about the reasons the university gave for her (unfair) dismissal. They must have had a reson, however unfair, surely?

    What else do we know about the case? Do we know why she was (unfairly) dismissed?

    You say “and she has the support of almost all her departmental colleagues.” Why not of all of them? Those who support her, have they all signed the petition? What about her students? Have they signed too?

    I _completely_ empathise with Dr Brienza’s case, but I would like to know more about why she was dismissed. Is that an unfair question to ask?

    Thank you for allowing my views on your blog.

    1. Thanks for your comment – though I’m afraid that, at this stage, that is an unfair question. Remember that the petition is to get Casey reinstated. While there’s still hope of that, a leak on a public website would not be helpful. Not because the details reflect badly on Casey – they don’t – but because a leak is a leak. So what I’m asking you to do is to reflect on what can be made public at this stage, which is that a university is exploiting a loop in the law in order to fast track the dismissal of a lecturer, knowing that said lecturer has absolutely no possibility of legal redress, almost regardless of the circumstances.

      About Casey’s students: you’ll note that the university waited until the summer holiday before getting rid of her. (It also waited until after the closing date of the REF, thus making sure that it would receive the financial benefit from the publications she mostly authored while studying for a PhD at Cambridge.) And ‘why not all of’ her departmental colleagues? Well, if everyone in Casey’s department were supporting her, this wouldn’t be happening. But not everyone in a department has an equal say in who gets hired and fired.

      In fact, most have no say at all. But you know that, right?

  2. I’ll be closing this for comments soon as it’s starting to attract spam. But I’d like to encourage everyone to look at the ‘notes’ added to the petition itself by its signatories ( There are some really powerful statements from Casey’s students and from people who’ve worked with her (Casey’s colleagues at City also signed a letter of support for her, which was ignored during the dismissals process – as were the six letters of support from academics elsewhere). Perhaps the most interesting note is from the previous incumbent of Casey’s post, Dr Richard Guthrie, author of Publishing: Principles and Practice (SAGE, 2011):

    Casey and I were fired, me in 2012, Casey now, our experiences identical. She, young, female, me, male, of a certain age. Is there something rotten in the state of City U? Will they manhandle this third case inside two years dishonestly as well?

    ‘[T]his third case inside two years’: food for thought, I think.

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