Paul Buchanan's Official Employment At Auckland University Concludes
International relations and security expert Paul G. Buchanan is no longer employed by Auckland University after the settlement agreement struck in 2008 concluded this September.
Dr. Buchanan - whose “Word from Afar” column is featured at www.scoop.co.nz and whose commentary appears regularly in New Zealand media - sought legal recourse through his union after claiming his employer, Auckland University, unfairly dismissed him in 2007.
On March 26 2008, the Employment Relations Authority ruled that the dismissal was unjustified and it awarded Dr. Buchanan $51,000 in lost wages and $15,000 for hurt and humiliation. However, it did not award reinstatement as the primary remedy, arguing that it was “impractical” to do so. Buchanan appealed that part of the ERA decision to the Employment Court and reached a settlement with the University in September 2008.
Under the terms of the September 2008 settlement, reinstatement was a time-limited formality that covered a nominal monetary payout by the University.
Dr. Buchanan said: “Although I wanted to pursue my case against the university in the Employment Court in order to secure full reinstatement, I was unable to convince my union to fund the case in the face of a settlement offer.
“Since I was unable to fund the case myself, that left me little option other than to accept the settlement even though it has effectively meant the end of my academic career,” he said.
Currently living in Singapore, Dr. Buchanan will return to New Zealand later this year in order to explore career options: “I believe that I can still contribute to public debate and intellectual life in New Zealand. The question is whether I will be allowed to do so, and the only way to find out is to return and re-establish my roots in the country.”
Dr. Buchanan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.