New inquiry urged over ‘gagged’ Scottish Government whistleblower tied to chair

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick complained of a racist and misogynistic culture in a Scottish Government department claims she was taped to a chair and gagged by two male colleagues as a warning to keep quiet
DeeAnn Fitzpatrick complained of a racist and misogynistic culture in a Scottish Government department claims she was taped to a chair and gagged by two male colleagues as a warning to keep quiet
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An MSP is to demand an independent inquiry into the handling of the case of a Scottish Government employee who was allegedly gagged and tied to a chair by colleagues.

Scottish Labour’s Rhoda Grant believes the full facts of how fisheries officer DeeAnn Fitzpatrick was treated over a period of ten years have not been properly investigated.

The Highlands MSP will today reveal new details about Ms Fitzpatrick’s treatment at Marine Scotland and demand a new, independent probe into the whole case.

Ms Grant will use her Holyrood’s member’s debate on tackling misogyny, racism, sexism and harassment in the workplace to raise the matter.

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick claimed she experienced bullying and harassment over a period of ten years after she complained of a racist and misogynistic culture while employed at Marine Scotland’s office in Scrabster.

The whistleblower claimed she was mocked over a miscarriage, was the victim of threatening behaviour and racist language, and contemplated suicide as a result of the bullying.

She also alleged she was taped to a chair and gagged by colleagues in 2010 with two male co-workers telling her: “This is what you get when you speak out against the boys.”

However the Canadian national lost an industrial tribunal last year, after that allegation and the photograph of the incident were considered inadmissible as it took place more than three years before the complaint was brought.

The tribunal instead focused on anonymous cards she received every birthday and Valentine’s Day.

Scottish Government permanent secretary Leslie Evans carried out a review after images of Ms Fitzpatrick tied to the chair emerged.

While it concluded that the government’s “robust disciplinary procedures” had been “followed thoroughly and objectively in relation to this incident”, “a broad set of actions” were implemented “to ensure a working environment which meets both the Civil Service Code and Scottish Government Standards of Behaviour.”

The Scotsman understands that Ms Fitzpatrick has not been allowed to return to her work since the tribunal last June – but is not suspended from her job.

Ms Grant is expected to call for an independent inquiry into the case as she believes the government investigation was “neither thorough or independent”.

She said: “I’ve raised this issue a First Minister’s Questions before and nothing appears to have changed. An independent inquiry is needed to get to the root of what has happened here.”