Judged criticised the way the organisation undertook its investigation
An employment tribunal has awarded a former employee of Rape Crisis Scotland £51,000 for unfair dismissal and roundly criticised the organisation over serious HR failures.
It was also alleged she told a racist joke.
However judge Amanda Jones found the charity had a view to dismiss the employee and had carried out a one-sided investigation.
Graham had 12 years’ service and suffered from depression and anxiety but the tribunal found Rape Crisis did not account for her mental health adequately.
The ruling stated: “The Tribunal was extremely surprised that an organisation such as the respondent, whose services were focussed on supporting women who had experienced trauma would adopt such a position.
“The claimant made clear throughout the process that her behaviour had been impacted upon by her mental health.
“The claimant was saying that she was not well.
“It was astonishing to the Tribunal that the respondent’s witnesses … could not accept that suffering from depression and anxiety could impact on the claimant’s behaviour.”
It added that the alleged racist joke had been taken out of context as a means to justify the employee’s dismissal.
Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis Scotland’s chief executive was criticised for influencing the investigation.
It stated: “The tribunal was very concerned at the role Ms Brindley played in the proceedings concerning the claimant … the tribunal formed the view that consciously or otherwise, the whole process involving the claimant was influenced by Ms Brindley and her view of the claimant."
A Rape Crisis Scotland spokesperson told TFN the judgement contained "numerous factual errors" but as an organisation it would reflect on the ruling.
They said: “We regret that we were not successful in defending our case at this tribunal.
"We believe that we have a responsibility to take complaints of bullying and racism very seriously and are disappointed that the tribunal did not agree with our actions in relation to these.
"The judgment contains numerous factual errors. We strongly disagree with their approach to racist behaviour, however we will reflect carefully on the judgment and consider what further steps are appropriate.
"As an organisation our absolute priority is working to create an environment where staff and volunteers feel safe, supported and able to thrive. We are committed to ongoing learning in this regard and will look to what more that we can do as an organisation to ensure that all of our team have the support and resources to enable this.”
The tribunal ruled that Kate Graham had been dismissed unfairly by being discriminated against because of her disability.
She was awarded a total of £51,823 including a basic award of £7,087 and £28,124 for unfair dismissal.
They further awarded her an injury to feelings payment of £15,000 with interest of £1,612.