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University teacher sacked for being ‘too loud’ wins £100,000 in damages

A university lecturer who claimed she was sacked because she was "too loud" has been awarded £100,000 in damages after taking her employer to court.

Dr Annette Plaut, 59, was employed by the University of Exeter for 29-years until she was dismissed for, she claims, her ‘overbearing’ voice.

But in a twist in the tale, the university argued that she had instead been fired over the way she dealt with two PhD students, insisting it had nothing to do with her background or her sex.

Regardless, the employment tribunal later ruled she had been unfairly dismissed reports the Mirror.

Dr Plaut has said she has a "naturally loud voice" due to her middle-European Jewish background.

She also claimed it was the combination of her being "female and loud" that had led to her dismissal.

Plaut, who worked at the physics department of Exeter University for the best part of 30-years, accused her former employers of being "institutionally unconsciously biased".

She also said she was taking medication for stress brought on by its treatment of her.

During a tribunal last year, Plaut was described as a "Marmite" character, valued by many but considered "overbearing" by others who disliked her "boisterous" style.

Speaking yesterday (January 17) after the university was ordered to pay her just under £101,000, Plaut said: "I have a naturally loud voice. As such I have no ability to sense when I am speaking loudly.

“The loud voice comes from my family background and is a perfectly normal and acceptable way to speak amongst people of middle and eastern European Jewish background.

“In New York or Germany where I have lived and worked for years at a time, the loudness of my voice was never mentioned."

Plaut was twice suspended before she was dismissed and was told she could not speak to colleagues or students while she was being investigated,

This she says left her feeling humiliated and isolated.

She said she would have liked her job back, but the tribunal's remedy judgment concluded this was not practical as there was "entrenched bias against Dr Plaut in the human resources department and in the senior echelons of the university".

The judgment concluded: "Every aspect of her life and future was at risk, and for no good reason, and unfairly."

A University of Exeter spokesperson said: "We continue to believe there are serious inaccuracies in these judgments and we are appealing."

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