Highlands & Islands

Woman 'bullied' after complaining of racist culture at Marine Scotland

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick taped to a chair
Image caption BBC Scotland a published a photo of the restraint incident DeeAnn Fitzpatrick claims to have been subjected to, but it is understood the tribunal will not consider this allegation

An employee of a Scottish government department has told an employment tribunal she considered taking her own life after bullying by co-workers.

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick said she experienced harassment after complaining of a racist and misogynistic culture at Marine Scotland.

In a hearing ahead of the tribunal the 49-year-old alleged she was taped to a chair and gagged by colleagues in 2010.

BBC Scotland published a photo of the restraint incident last month.

However, it is understood that the tribunal is unable to consider the allegation as it was said to have taken place more than three years before the complaint was brought.

The Canadian national told the tribunal in Aberdeen she felt intimidated after being sent anonymous cards.

She said she suspected the cards, received on Valentines Day and her birthday every year between 2015 and 2017, were sent by colleagues.

A message in one called her an "old troll" and another warned her about trying to "climb the ladder of success", she told the tribunal.

Image caption DeeAnn works as a fisheries officer checking the operation of the industry

She said: "When I first started getting the cards, it made me feel awful. But as they continued, yes it's affected my self-esteem.

"It's actually made me become a recluse - I stay at home, I have gone more into myself."

She told the hearing that at one point she contacted a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland because she "had had enough".

Ms Fitzpatrick told the tribunal she had worked for Marine Scotland since 2006.

The alleged abuse is said to have taken place while she was based in the government body's Scrabster office in the Highlands and continued after she was signed off.

She alleged two colleagues - Derek Yule and Reid Anderson - were responsible for sending the cards.

The tribunal heard there was a bad atmosphere in the office during the period.

The hearing continues.

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