Professor Jo Phoenix wins unfair dismissal case

Professor Jo Phoenix, former Professor of Criminology at the Open University (OU), has won her case at an employment tribunal. The professor established the OU’s Gender Critical Research Network (GCRN) in 2018 and went on to face slurs, intimidation, harassment and discrimination.

She has now won her unfair dismissal claim against the institution. In the ruling it was determined that the university failed to protect the professor from victimisation for the sake of appeasing trans activists.

Upholding almost 20 of Prof Phoenix’s claims, the tribunal, chaired by employment judge Jennifer Young, said: 

We do not consider that the [university] had a proper reason for allowing the harassment to continue without publicly taking action to prohibit it.

Upholding academic freedom did not prevent the [university] from taking action to prohibit the harassment.

We find that the [university] did not provide [Prof Phoenix] protection particularly in the form of asking staff and students not to launch campaigns to deplatform the GCRN, or make calls to remove support for [her] gender-critical research, or use social media to label [her] transphobic or TERF.

Why did the OU remain so passive throughout Prof Phoenix’s ordeal? In one damning passage, the ruling notes:

It was clear from Professor Fribbance’s evidence on the public VC statements the OU was focused and concerned with the students and trying to placate them, and Professor Wilson [the OU’s former Dean of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion] admitted that potentially there was a culture of fear about drawing attention to [Prof Phoenix] and her research… We find that the [OU] felt pressured by the loud voices speaking up for gender identity culture within the OU to publicly appease the students and staff.

Prof Phoenix posted a statement on X after her win: “A message to all universities: you cannot stand back and allow gender critical academics to be hounded out of their jobs.”

Let’s hope 2024 marks the beginning of the end of the vilification, harassment and threats women face for simply defending the reality and rights of biological sex.