An ex-employee of Kellogg College is suing Oxford University for age discrimination and unfair dismissal.
Catriona Carter Jonas, 53, told Reading Tribunal Centre last week that she suffered “nasty treatment” from her superiors at Kellogg, causing her to “cry herself to sleep”. She stated that the college’s former bursar once described her as a “wrinkly old bag”.
Ms Carter Jonas was employed by Kellogg between 2007 and 2013, resigning last March following eight months of sick leave.
Ms Carter Jonas claims the college’s current domestic bursar, Donna Lipsky (who was appointed in January 2012) attempted to “manage me out”, allegedly increasing her workload by 80% with no recognition.
“I was depressed and would cry myself to sleep most nights. I was suffering from regular panic attacks”, Ms Carter Jonas told the tribunal.
The former events co-ordinator claims that on one occasion, when walking past Mrs Lipsky’s office, she overheard the bursar telling a colleague that they “need someone cheaper, younger, stronger.” Ms Carter Jonas was taken to disciplinary hearings in 2011 and 2012, before lodging a formal grievance.
The employment tribunal also heard evidence from another former Kellogg employee Keith Fraser last week, who told Judge Robin Lewis that Lipsky had driven a “culture of bullying” at the college.
Mr Fraser claims that Mrs Lipsky’s behaviour resembled that of an “alpha-personality”, with the bursar allegedly shoving Kellogg chaplain Reverend Robin Gibbons out of an office and causing a door to slam in his face.
Alice Carse, representing the University, told the tribunal that Jonas was “making something out of nothing”, listing concerns over her work management and ability to follow instructions. Ms Carse also told Judge Robin Lewis that Fraser is simply bitter as he was not given Mrs Lipsky’s permanent role.
Neither Kellogg College nor its current bursar, Mrs Lipsky, responded to a request for comment.
The case at Reading Tribunal Centre continues.