Official defends decision not to probe complaint
A Scottish Government chief yesterday defended the decision not to investigate claims Ms Fitzpatrick’s male colleagues at Marine Scotland sent anonymous cards to torment her.
The government’s head of people advice, Judith MacKinnon, gave evidence during the second day of Ms Fitzpatrick’s employment tribunal. She said her role is to provide human resources advice to Holyrood and her department looks into complaints raised by workers at government agencies.
It was February 2015 when Ms Fitzpatrick received a first card, which she says left her feeling “insulted, humiliated and degraded as a woman” due to its crass message.
But when she reported the matter to government human resources staff, she was told no investigation could take place because the card was sent anonymously. Ms MacKinnon said there was “no evidence” to suggest the cards had been sent by co-workers.
She added: “The allegations were not against any person in particular. To investigate a complaint you need to speak to the individual being complained against.”
The 51-year-old said government staff declined to raise the matter with police despite Ms Fitzpatrick asking them to, as that would be for her to do as the complainer.
The Canadian’s solicitor, Michael Briggs, crossexamined Ms MacKinnon on whether her department could have done more.
He said: “It would have been possible to write to staff seeking information, to circulate a sample of the handwriting to see if anyone recognised it or to phone the police.”
Ms MacKinnon said: “We could have done it, but we didn’t do that.”
She denied an accusation that they “didn’t take the complaint seriously”.
Solicitor Michael Briggs