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Head of Sport NI Antoinette McKeown takes unfair dismissal case

Sport NI chief executive Antoinette McKeown

SPORT NI chief executive Antoinette McKeown is to take legal action against her employers for unfair dismissal - although she remains in her job.

Ms McKeown returned to her desk in August last year - just weeks after charges of gross misconduct against her were dismissed.

The former CEO of the Northern Ireland Consumer Council became Sport NI's first female boss in 2013 but was suspended on full pay in March 2015.

She was dismissed in November 2016 when charges of gross misconduct were laid against her, but these were overturned by an independent appeals panel which found flaws with the disciplinary process.

While she is back in her post, it has been reported that Ms McKeown is taking a case, due to be heard next month at the Fair Employment Tribunal, against Sport NI.

It is thought to be an unprecedented action by a still-serving chief executive.

The Irish Times reported that while Ms McKeown was immediately re-instated after the appeal decision, an agreement on compensation and a public apology is being blocked.

The paper said it saw documents in which officials at the former Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, warned there was "no compelling case" to take disciplinary action against her.

Former assistant secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Peter Bunting said it was shocking that Ms McKeown was being forced into a tribunal.

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