Disciplinary Investigation

See Timeline and Personnel

Gail Miller, Linton, Kilbryde Crescent, Dunblane, FK15 9BB

Graham Millar, 24 Tipperary Place, Stenhousemuir, LARBERT, FK5 4SX

While I was awaiting the decision on my grievance against Kathy McCabe, a number of colleagues colluded and went to HR with malicious complaints about me. This was because I had made genuine complaints against two of them which were still to be actioned, and so it was in their interest to get rid of me. The complaints they came up with were unbelievable, but that didn't seem to matter to Mark Toole. He carried out an informal investigation with these complainants, and then arranged a formal investigation. I was suspended during the investigation which Mark said would be "fair and thorough". With me suspended, it gave the complainants more time to get their story straight, but they didn't realise that there was already evidence that refuted the story that they had invented.

The Disciplinary Procedure states that investigators should be drawn from a different department. That would have meant MT would have lost some control, so he decided to ignore that instruction, and appointed Gail Miller and Graham Millar, whom he manages, to investigate. Another reason Graham should not have been chosen was because of a close relationship he enjoys with one of the complainants. For several years, Graham's team didn't invite him to their nights out, because they objected to the way he had treated a former colleague. So he came to my team's nights out instead. He was regularly seen with his arm around Una Forsyth's shoulders and waist. My girlfriend had noticed this too. I was surprised to learn recently that he is married, because I always assumed he must be single from the way he behaved with Una. He doesn't seem to mind making public displays of affection for her. During her interview with Graham, Una was reported to have been "visibly upset" while she explained that I allegedly had a soft spot for her and had hoped to get together with her while she was still married five years ago. Graham would have been aware that Una's marriage had broken up eight years ago, and that shortly afterwards she was in a relationship for roughly four years with a man called Ricky from Edinburgh. Graham also worked closely with Eileen MacDonald when they were interviewing job applicants just before the investigation began.

Gail and Graham interviewed each of the complainants, and then they interviewed me. At the time I was interviewed, I didn't know what the complaints were or even who was complaining about me. I was just told that the investigation was into me bullying colleagues, including bullying based on gender, and inappropriate behaviour. Graham asked me to talk about my relationships with my colleagues, and wouldn't say what the complaints were about. By denying me any details of the complaints, Graham would have hoped that I wouldn't be able to refute them.

Unknown to me, much of what I said conflicted with what the complainants had said in their statements. However that didn't seem to surprise Graham who was, of course, aware of the inconsistencies. For example, Una had falsely claimed that for four years she had avoided contact with me. She and the other complainants (all women) had come up with the story that I am a man who has a problem with women, that I delay responding to work requests from women, and that I only got on well with 2 out of the 11 women in the team. However, I got on well with all but two team members, Kathy and Eileen Mac. Without me knowing about Una's false claims, I mentioned that she had recently invited me to be her friend on Facebook, that she regularly collected the lottery syndicate money on my behalf, that she had recently cooked me a meal, and confided in me that she didn't want to be line managed by Eileen anymore, and that she frequently came to me for help, even on matters that were not covered by my role, because I'm very obliging and helpful. Despite the obvious difference in evidence, Graham chose not to interview Una again to ask her to explain the difference, nor did he tell me what Una had said.

Selina Gibb had made up a similar account of her relationship with me, and Graham didn't tell me about that either. I saw no reason to mention Selina because we had been good friends for about 10 years. It is worth noting that it is a very serious disciplinary matter to make malicious complaints.

Mark told me he selected Graham because he was an experienced investigator, but his performance suggests otherwise. For example, when he interviewed Una, she gave inconsistent statements, but he didn't ask her to explain. She had told him that I'd added her as a friend on Facebook, but he's an IT expert and knows that you can't do that without first being invited. He didn't ask about this. She said that she collected the lottery money for me, but he didn't ask why she did this if she avoided contact with me.

In addition, Una made statements that were simply screaming out for further questioning. She said that I made one woman's (LM's) life a misery, but nothing else was said or asked about this allegation. Surely a genuine Investigator would have asked for details of how I'd done this, and asked if my manager was informed of it, etc. I see no genuine value in an investigation, if someone can make such a serious allegation, and not explain it. Again, I was not asked about that woman during my interview with the investigators.

Following the investigation, Gail and Graham produced a report. The Disciplinary Procedure states that it is not the role of the Investigator to come to conclusions, but Graham included conclusions in his report which, despite the fact that I had given evidence that refuted the claims of the complainants, were based entirely on their statements. This included his conclusion relating to a private conversation I was alleged to have had with Selina. I don't think it is possible to come to a conclusion about a private conversation until you hear it from both parties. For all the investigators knew, the conversation might not have taken place at all. There was indeed a conversation, however Selina had given a false account of it, saying that I had frightened and alarmed her by losing control, becoming so wild that my face was red and I was spitting on her desk, and that she wasn't interested in what I was saying to her. She alleged that following that conversation, she was anxious and nervous around me. The investigators didn't ask why she had waited two months before reporting this alleged incident that had made her so anxious to be around me. If the investigators had asked me about it, I would have been able to refer to occasions following that very innocent conversation when Selina was laughing and joking with me. In fact the last time I was with Selina, we were both laughing and joking, and there's evidence to support that fact.

I believe that the reason Graham didn't put any of these allegations to me was that he and Mark already knew that they were all false, and they didn't want any facts to get in the way and prevent them from coming to the required conclusions. This didn't quite go to plan though, because when I was interviewed, I unwittingly referred to facts that refuted the allegations. This didn't prove a major problem for the investigators though, because they could simply ignore the facts. After all, they weren't on a fact finding mission, they were on a mission to help Mark get rid of me. After I was interviewed, Gail wrote to me to say that they were considering removing parts of my statement. That seemed odd to me at the time, and I can only think that it was because I had managed to refute the false complaints, and rather than having to ignore parts of my statement, they would have preferred that my statement didn't include them in the first place.

Jackie O'Neil had been interviewed and she talked about an incident that I also discussed at my interview. Her account was very different to mine, but we both stated that colleague David Black was a very close witness. Any "fair and thorough" investigation would have had to include asking David for his account. Once again, Graham carefully avoided that because Mark knew that my account was true. I had referred to a document that was available that would have refuted Jackie's account, but Graham didn't investigate that either. The Disciplinary Procedure also states that evidence that doesn't fit the Investigators' understanding should not be ignored. Clearly Graham's report does just that.

The Investigator's report is supposed to detail the facts established by the investigation, and no recommendations or judgments should be made. However, the facts are conspicuous by their absence. Having read the report, it is difficult to think of a genuine reason for having interviewed me at all, other than to allow them to say they've done it. It doesn't refer to anything I've said. So the Investigators have made a judgement to ignore my evidence, preferring to base their findings and conclusions on the statements from the complainants which were already known to be unreliable.

Section 19. The investigators did not question me about this. Roughly seven team members were in the tea room. Selina was standing opposite me, leaning over a chair. From where I was sitting it looked as though she had a pregnancy bump. This triggered some vague memory that I'd heard that she was pregnant, and I asked "Are you pregnant again?" Selina laughed as she said "No! That's not something you should ask a woman, Allan." I said "Sorry!", then added, "but didn't you tell me you were pregnant?" She looked puzzled as she said "No". She then stood up straight, and I could see that it was just that she was wearing a baggy top, and I pointed that out. I made no mention of her "weight" whatsoever. She hadn't just returned from maternity leave. She had returned almost a year previously. She did not leave the room until we all left the room. She had sent me the email below as a joke two months earlier, but I hadn't seen the punchline at the bottom of the email. There was absolutely no intention to insult or embarrass Selina. Selina and Jackie have colluded to make this into something sinister. It was never mentioned again, and was not reported until this investigation took place. Selina and I remained on very good terms right up to my suspension, as can be seen in emails she sent me. She also made a very innocent private conversation we had sound very sinister. Did she do this of her own free will, or was she pressurised? Well, she hasn't told me of any pressure, so I can only assume she chose to do it herself.

Section 18. I was not questioned about any of this. The allegation that I hoped to get together with Una while she was married five years ago is not only false, it is impossible. Her marriage broke up eight years ago. Graham Millar would have known this as he has a very close relationship with Una.

I have never made any comment to Jackie about her shape. However, the bullying has had a serious effect on my health and my weight for two reasons; my alcohol intake has increased massively, and I can no longer take part in sports which I used to do daily, and I no longer go dancing. On two occasions at the beginning of 2010, Jackie came over to the area of my desk and, in her loud voice, mentioned that I was getting fat, and that I should get back into training. Although I wasn't offended, Jackie wouldn't have cared if I was. Her main motivation I believe was to bring to the attention of everyone else around us that she was in training.

Section 21. I was not questioned about any of this. I did, however raise the topic of Eileen's and Jackie's poor technical performance. I did not say that this is because I deem them to be technically inferior to me. That sounds very much like a dishonest and somewhat immature criticism of me; and certainly not a fact that the investigators are supposed to establish. Part of my job is to provide technical training and advice to Programmers. When interviewed, I gave my view (as I have given to my manager before) that Eileen's and Jackie's technical performance falls well below what I would expect from a Programmer and a Senior Programmer with the years of experience that they've had in the job, and with the training and help I and others have given them. The problem is not that they don't match me technically, but that they don't match Programmers with just months of experience. They do not respond to training and advice given, and I showed ample evidence of this. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that they have never had any real desire to improve their technical skills, and worse, both have caused problems because they have arrogantly acted upon their mistaken belief that they are technically superior to me. Added to that, Jackie has screamed at me several times because she thinks I'm technically inferior to her. That is a symptom of poor management. Just days before I was suspended, Eileen wrote to me with a question that most Trainee Programmers would know the answer to by the end of their first day at work. Eileen is a Senior Programmer with ten years experience. While that may sound like a massive exaggeration, I assure you it is not. As usual, I answered as if it was a perfectly normal question. Eileen's and Jackie's roles both pay in excess of £40,000 a year full time.

I offered Graham Millar and Gail Miller an opportunity to respond to this statement on 30th August 2010. I also asked if there was anything I've said that they disagree with. I have not received a reply.

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