A female fisheries officer in Scotland claims that her male colleagues gagged and taped her to a chair after she spoke out about misogyny and racism in the workplace.
DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, 49, said she had complained numerous times about the rampant bullying and harassment at the Marine Scotland’s Scrabster office before two of her colleagues tied her up with tape in 2010. “This is what you get when you speak out against the boys,” she told an employment tribal, recalling what one of the men said to her, reported The Times.
According to emails seen by the BBC, Fitzpatrick reported the incident to her manager, who downplayed the event but promised to have “a word” with the two men involved. “I am sure they meant no harm and that was the boys just being boys,” the manager said.
After seeing the image, Ronda Grant, a Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), deemed the incident “horrific.”
“She’s been subject to a long period of harassment, horrendous behavior toward her,” she said. “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.”
Fitzpatrick claims that she had experienced over a decade of workplace bullying inside the office, which includes being mocked for having a miscarriage, being subjected to racism because she is from Canada and witnessing other female staff being called prostitutes.
The employment tribunal, however, is unable to consider the incident where she was tied to the chair as evidence because it occurred over three years before she lodged the case, which breaches their statute of limitations.
The man who allegedly took the image told the BBC that Fitzpatrick’s account of the incident was false. “I can’t remember the event you mention, but if it did happen, it would have been office banter. Just a craic. Certainly nothing to do with abuse,” he said.
Fitzpatrick has been signed off work since November 2016, after her father passed away. She will also face a disciplinary hearing brought on by her employers at the end of this month, which resulted from accusations that she was being “overzealous” in her job and rude to clients.
In a statement, a Scottish government spokesperson said: “The Scottish government has clear standards of behavior which apply to all staff. Any concerns raised by staff are taken seriously and investigated fully.”