‘Whistleblower’ woman was ‘taped to chair and gagged by colleagues’

Fisheries officer DeeAnn Fitzpatrick was restrained by colleagues. Picture: BBC
Fisheries officer DeeAnn Fitzpatrick was restrained by colleagues. Picture: BBC

A woman has claimed she was taped to a chair and gagged by two male colleagues at a Scottish Government agency before being warned to stay quiet.

Fisheries officer DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, 49, says she experienced the demeaning scenario at Marine Scotland’s Scrabster office.

She has complained about the agency’s “misogynstic culture” and alleges she has been bullied for years in the workplace.

A photo shows Ms Fitzpatrick restrained.

One of the men allegedly responsible for her mistreatment is believed to have taken the photo.

Ms Fitzpatrick – a Canadian national – has taken her case to an employment tribunal.

The incident at the Scrabster office on the far north Caithness coast is alleged to have happened in 2010.

Ms Fitzpatrick claims she was taped to the chair and told to be quiet after blowing the whistle on cultural issues within the agency.

She reported to an ongoing tribunal that one of the men involved, fisheries officer Reid Anderson, told her: “This is what you get when you speak out against the boys.”

The Scottish Government is responsible for Marine Scotland, which is the watchdog for the fisheries and aquaculture industries in Scotland.

A spokesperson said the 
government “does not comment on internal staffing matters”.

Rhoda Grant, a Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, told the BBC on seeing the photo for the first time: “It’s horrific. I’m kind of speechless.”

The MSP said seeing the photo seemed to make it “ten times worse”.

Ms Grant said: “She’s been subject to a long period of harassment, horrendous behaviour towards her.

“In some of my dealings with DeeAnn, it’s very clear that there is a culture in that office that people can get away with what they say and what they do. It seems to me that it’s out of control.”