A chief executive sacked after being cleared of sexual harassment at an employment tribunal is to sue his former trust.

Colin Jones, former chief executive of Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre trust, was cleared of sexually harassing disabilities services project manager Shirley-Ann O'Hara by a Berkshire tribunal in March last year.

But the trust terminated his contract in January after trying for six months to conclude an internal disciplinary hearing into fresh complaints against him.

The further complaints, which were 'connected to his alleged misconduct', had sparked Mr Jones' suspension in April last year and an internal inquiry which 'found there was a possible case to answer, ' the trust said.

A hearing date was set four times.

But Mr Jones reported sick each time and the trust claimed after the sacking that it had had 'no choice but to terminate his contract'.

Mr Jones' solicitor, Steven Maier, said the complaints against his client 'should never have been presented as a disciplinary case'.

He said: 'One of the allegations was that Colin had asked an employee if she was happy at work. Another was that he closed his office door during meetings. '

Mr Maier claimed: 'No complaints were made to Colin at the time of the alleged incidents and there was no attempt to resolve matters with him under the trust's own policies. '

Mr Jones had had one bout of sickness and notified the trust of his intention to return to work by the end of January, but was dismissed before that.

Mr Jones is taking his case to an employment tribunal and the High Court, claiming unfair dismissal and wrongful termination of contract. The move could force an estimated£300,000 payout from the trust. Mr Maier said the claims related to a three-year notice period and pension entitlements.

Mr Jones, project manager when the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre became the first trust in the former Oxford region, was on a£77,000 salary as chief executive.

The trust refused to comment on the case.