University employee fired for trying to shake hands with a Muslim student. Picture: iStock
University employee fired for trying to shake hands with a Muslim student. Picture: iStock

Man fired over handshake with Muslim student

A UNIVERSITY of Auckland senior staff member has been fired after trying to shake hands with a female Muslim student.

The ousted staff member then filed a complaint of sexual discrimination against her after she refused to shake his hand, the New Zealand Herald reports.

A newsletter from vice-chancellor Stuart McCutcheon directed to all university staff said the academic had tried to shake her hand with the knowledge that it would be inappropriate.

 

"He did this knowing that she would consider it culturally or religiously inappropriate to have physical contact with a man who was not a close relative," the statement read.

"When she declined to shake his hand, he made a complaint of sexual discrimination against her."

A formal investigation had established his behaviour had amounted to "serious misconduct".

The incident occurred last year but McCutcheon said he had delayed advising staff of what happened in a bid to protect the privacy of the people involved.

The university found that the employee’s behaviour resulted in ‘serious misconduct’. Picture: iStock
The university found that the employee’s behaviour resulted in ‘serious misconduct’. Picture: iStock

"However, I believe it is important for all members of our community to understand that such behaviours have no place in the University and that if they do occur I will not hesitate to authorise appropriate investigatory and disciplinary procedures."

McCutcheon's office told the Herald the University of Auckland would not be commenting on the incident.

This article was originally published by the NZ Herald and appears here with permission.


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