Jeanette Findlay became a Professor of Economics this year. Credit: University of Glasgow

Jeanette Findlay’s claims of sexism dismissed by employment tribunal

By Odhran Gallagher

The UofG Economics Professor who accused the University of gender-based discrimination has had her claims refuted by an employment tribunal.

An employment tribunal investigating claims made by Jeanette Findlay that she was overlooked for a promotion on the basis of her gender has found that Findlay was not discriminated against. 

Findlay, who became a Professor of Economics at the University of Glasgow in August of this year, raised an employment tribunal as she believes she was a victim of sex discrimination when she failed to become a professor after applying for the promotion in 2020. Professor John Finch, who was Head of the Adam Smith Business School and also Findlay’s line manager at the time of her application, admitted to the tribunal that he had made a mistake in failing to include details of her leadership experience in his reference statement for her. However, Finch told the tribunal that he had later amended the reference after concerns had been raised by Findlay.

Speaking to The Herald, Findlay said: “I am obviously disappointed but not terribly surprised given that very few women win sex discrimination cases. Notwithstanding all of that, the Tribunal did make 14 separate recommendations to the University to improve its practices and processes and, if these are implemented as the University would be advised to do, this will be a significant improvement for women in their employ.

“I will take legal advice over the coming days on the prospects for an appeal but I recognise that there are very limited grounds on which a claimant can appeal so that route might be closed to me.”

A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow has said: “We are pleased the employment tribunal found that Professor Findlay was not discriminated against, on the grounds of her sex, directly, or indirectly, when her 2020 application for promotion was unsuccessful. The claim made against the University was “dismissed in its entirety” by the tribunal. 

“The University condemns discrimination of any kind and is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion across its community and campus and we are working to increase the promotion rate of women in those subjects where there are proportionately fewer women in senior posts. Jeanette Findlay was promoted to Professor in August 2022.

“We have robust policies, procedures, and processes in place to ensure our staff are treated fairly, equitably and with respect during our promotions process.  Our promotion criteria are both stretching and robust and are consistent with our longer-term strategic ambitions and global competitiveness

Currently, at the University of Glasgow, three of the four heads of colleges are female but two-thirds of senior leaders are male. 


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[…] Since she began working at the University of Glasgow in 1987, Findlay has challenged her employer over what she calls sex discrimination three teams; a fact she calls "disappointing and dispiriting". In 2004, she won a tribunal which was settled within a week, and also settled an equal pay case internally a number of years later. In her most recent tribunal, however, her claim of being discriminated against in the promotion process to professorship were dismissed.  […]