The lecturer at the centre of a bitter sacking row at Central College of Commerce has won his unfair dismissal claim at an employment tribunal, which ordered his reinstatement in an oral finding released on Wednesday.
Jim O'Donovan, president of the former College Lecturers' Association, argued he was fired over his trade union activities. College management, described by the tribunal as taking a "despicable" attitude in the disciplinary process, charged him with acting in an "intimidatory, threatening and confrontational manner."
But Hugh Murphy, the tribunal chairman, said: "No rational person could have so described the applicant's conduct." It agreed Mr O'Donovan's dismissal was because of union activities, and Mr Murphy said the matter that had led up to it was "utterly trivial".
Peter Duncan, the college principal, said it had acted in good faith after what it believed was "bullying and harassment" by Mr O'Donovan. "We are surprised that the tribunal regarded the same events as part of trade union activity," Mr Duncan added.
He was "wary" about reinstating Mr O'Donovan but was awaiting the written judgment before commenting further.