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ERA Rules Dismissal of Scientist CEO Unjustified

7 October 2005

Media Release for Publication

Employment Relations Authority Rules Summary Dismissal of Scientist CEO Unjustified

The 2004 summary dismissal of scientist CEO Dr Adrian Sprott (son of well-known scientist Dr Jim Sprott) has been ruled by the Employment Relations Authority to be unjustified: ERA Determination No. AA71a/05, 4 October 2005.

In February 2004 Mr David Perry, Singapore-based Chairman of Centre for Advanced Medicine Ltd (Auckland), summarily dismissed CEO Dr Adrian Sprott, claiming "non-performance of duties" and "serious misconduct".

At the time of the dismissal, Dr Jim Sprott was acting as a consultant to Mr Perry.

In its Determination on Dr Adrian Sprott's claim for unjustified dismissal, the Employment Relations Authority ruled that:

(1) There was no reasonable basis for Centre for Advanced Medicine Ltd to conclude that Dr Adrian Sprott had failed to perform his duties as CEO.

(2) The company had failed to give Adrian Sprott a fair opportunity to respond to its claims of serious misconduct.

(3) The company's claims of serious misconduct were unfounded.

(4) Mr Perry had dismissed Adrian Sprott because of a letter which Dr Jim Sprott had sent to Mr Perry a few days previously.

(5) Mr Perry's action in dismissing Adrian Sprott because of that letter was in the circumstances unreasonable and unfair.

(6) The dismissal of Dr Adrian Sprott by Centre for Advanced Medicine Ltd was unjustified.

Earlier in 2005 Centre for Advanced Medicine Ltd had attempted to claim that in view of Dr Adrian Sprott's particular responsibilities, high salary and position as CEO, the employment relationship was ended as soon as the Board had "lost confidence" in him as CEO, and that therefore the dismissal procedures under the Employment Relations Act did not apply. In February 2005 the Employment Relations Authority had rejected this claim (a decision subsequently upheld by the Employment Court in May 2005).

Dr Sprott welcomed the Authority's latest decision, that his dismissal by Centre for Advanced Medicine Ltd had been unjustified.


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