'Whistleblower' civil servant faces misconduct hearing

image captionBBC Scotland obtained a photo of DeeAnn Fitzpatrick taped to a chair at her office

A civil servant who was allegedly gagged and tied to a chair after she spoke out against misogyny has been accused of gross misconduct.

Pictures of Ms Fitzpatrick bound with tape were published by BBC Scotland last year.

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick is now facing a disciplinary hearing over her account of the incident at Marine Scotland's Scrabster office, The Herald reports.

Ms Fitzpatrick is standing by her original version of events.

The fisheries officer is accused of making "false statements" regarding the date of the chair incident, which her colleagues claimed was an office prank.

She alleged she was targeted in 2010 as a result of blowing the whistle on a threatening and misogynistic culture at the fishing industry watchdog's office on the far north Caithness coast.

Ms Fitzpatrick accused two male colleagues of restraining her and said the incident left her "mentally destroyed".

Months later, an employment tribunal ruled it would not uphold a complaint that she received abusive cards several years after the chair incident.

The chair allegation was not considered as it was said to have happened more than three years before the complaint was brought.

Instead, the tribunal focused on her claim that she had received abusive cards on her birthday and on Valentine's Day between 2015 and 2017.

Ms Fitzpatrick claimed this was part of a long campaign of harassment while she worked in the Scrabster office of the Scottish government agency.

image captionDeeAnn Fitzpatrick worked at Marine Scotland's office in Scrabster

Scottish Labour MSP Rhoda Grant, who has supported Ms Fitzpatrick over many years, said she was dismayed by the latest development.

She said: "I have been supporting DeeAnn for over a decade where she has faced constant abuse.

"Instead of protecting her, Marine Scotland and the Scottish government have subjected her to numerous disciplinary procedures, this being another."

Earlier this year lawyers acting on her behalf confirmed that she was suing the Scottish government based on alleged stress and mental health issues.

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "This complex and sensitive case, which impacts on a number of individuals, is the subject of an ongoing internal process in line with our HR policies.

"We do not discuss individual staffing matters. We have been consistently clear that all staff within the Scottish government must be treated with dignity and respect."

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