Edinburgh Rape Crisis gender row employment tribunal: The three key findings in damning report

Tribunal judge rules that investigation was motivated by “strong belief” that employee’s views were “inherently hateful”

A female worker at a Scottish rape crisis centre has won her claim for constructive dismissal, after an employment tribunal judge ruled she was discriminated against because of her gender critical beliefs. Here are the key findings of the case brought by Roz Adams against the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre.

The centre’s CEO was ‘invisible hand’ behind the investigation

The employment tribunal’s judgement makes clear that Mridul Wadhwa, the centre’s chief executive, was integral to the flawed investigation process, noting at one point how “it is clear that MW was involved in the process since she was the one who selected and contacted who would deal with the various stages of the disciplinary and grievance process”.

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In its observations on the evidence put before it, the tribunal described Ms Wadhwa as “the invisible hand” behind everything that had taken place. It went on: “There were a number of matters where the tribunal heard evidence which indicated that she had become involved. The written evidence showed that she expressed a view as to the claimant’s guilt at the outset.”

The investigation itself was ‘deeply flawed’

The tribunal found the centre oversaw a “completely spurious and mishandled” disciplinary process, and described the investigation as “deeply flawed”, singling out the response by Nico Ciubotariu, the centre’s chief operating officer, to the genuine request by Ms Adams for further detail about the broadening of the investigation. It was, she was told, “about things you are reported to have said at various times.”

In a particularly damning section of the judgement, the tribunal stated: “It is unfortunately a classic of its kind, somewhat reminiscent of the work of Franz Kafka. The investigation should not have been launched in the first place and was clearly motivated by a strong belief amongst the senior management and some of the claimant’s colleagues that the claimant’s views were inherently hateful.”

Mridul Wadhwa is the chief executive of the Edinburgh Rape Crisis CentreMridul Wadhwa is the chief executive of the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre
Mridul Wadhwa is the chief executive of the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre

The charges against Ms Adams changed

There were several discrepancies surrounding the investigation into Ms Adams and the disciplinary charges that were brought against her, the tribunal ruled. It noted she was initially told that one of the charges she was facing was gross misconduct. This charge was later re-categorised, although Ms Adams was not told of this.

The tribunal judgement went on: “The disciplinary charges as framed refer to a policy, which had not been referred to in the investigation. The disciplinary panel then appeared to have decided that they will ignore part of the allegations against the claimant, although they do not tell the claimant about this at the time. They then decide to delay telling the claimant the outcome until after her grievance and grievance appeal have been dealt with.

“Despite this, they do not make any reference to the outcome of the grievance and critically the grievance appeal before issuing their judgement. The claimant’s position at that stage is that if she is to remain in employment with the respondent, she needs a clear statement that they do not consider her to be transphobic. It appeared to the tribunal to be absolutely clear that the reason why this was not given was because, in an act of unlawful discrimination, the respondent’s view was that the claimant was transphobic.”

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