Former Landscape Institute archivist Annabel Downs claims unfair dismissal at Employment Tribunal

Former Landscape Institute archivist Annabel Downs has claimed she was unfairly dismissed by her employer during a hearing at the London Central Employment Tribunal.

The two-day hearing between the Landscape Institute and Annabel Downs will allow the former archivist to "gain closure", she told HW.

Downs is claiming unfair dismissal after she was made redundant as part of the Landscape Institute's restructuring following the revelation of its financial woes last year.

A total of 11 staff out of 26 lost their jobs -- saving the Landscape Institute £300,000 a year.

During the first day of the hearing on 24 November, LI chief executive Alastair McCapra explained it became clear in September 2008 the organisation was "rapidly heading for bankruptcy unless immediate and drastic measures were taken".

But Downs argues that the option of alternative employment as the LI's head of library and information services should have been offered to her. She also claims the appeals process was not impartial, because the panel was made up of LI president Neil Williamson, along with another trustee.

The librarian was on a probation period at the time when redundancies were proposed. Another post in the membership department was later filled.

Tribunal panel member Mr Carter asked: "You didn't consider the potential placing of the staff facing redundancies in these posts?"

McCapra admitted: "In the case of the librarian, perhaps I should have considered it. It seemed to me it was quite a dissimilar post but I didn't test that."

Downs - who was representing herself during the tribunal - will face cross-examination from the LI's counsel Sarah Clarke today (25 November).


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