My Offer To Stirling University

Stirling University has got so used to conducting sham hearings that they expect the Employment Tribunal to conduct sham hearings on their behalf. They have their story all sorted out, and they don't want any facts or any alternative positions to be considered; claiming that they are irrelevant. Here is their position, as viewed by Mark Toole who dismissed me.

Allan's female manager submitted a grievance against him, and he made allegations that she had bullied him and discriminated against him on the basis of his gender. After a fair and thorough investigation, his allegations were rejected, and the Deputy Secretary found him to be a bully. He appealed against that decision, but the University Secretary could find no flaw in the grievance procedure.

I received complaints against Allan from three other women saying he had bullied them over time. I arranged a fair and thorough investigation, and held a fair disciplinary hearing. Allan claimed the women were lying, but I could see no reason why they would lie.

I dismissed Allan for reasons that are fair and genuine. He appealed, but the HR Director and another Director could find no flaw in the disciplinary process. His email to the Principal does not qualify as a Protected Disclosure, and even if it does, he did not suffer any detriment as a result of it. The Tribunal asked us to explain why it does not qualify as a protected disclosure, but we refused to explain because we, with professional representation, believe it is not relevant to his case.

It certainly sounds like a very convincing case. There's just one slight problem with it. It's complete bollocks!

Here is my own position.

My female manager bullied me and discriminated against me on the basis of my gender for several years to the injury of my mental health. However, management failed in their duty of care for me by not handling my manager's behaviour appropriately. I made a protected disclosure to the Principal, and submitted a formal grievance against my manager.

Management immediately closed ranks. The Principal forwarded my protected disclosure to the IS Director and HR Advisor who I said had failed in their duty of care. I was immediately subjected to a sham grievance procedure which included a sham investigation that was designed to create friction between me and my colleagues. The Deputy Secretary dishonestly rejected my allegations and accepted my manager's vexatious allegations. Her decision was dishonestly upheld at appeal by the University Secretary.

Motivated by the sham investigation, three women made malicious complaints against me. These were women who had previously abused me, but their actions had not been dealt with by their manager, HR or management; all of whom had known about that abuse.

A sham disciplinary investigation was arranged by the IS Director, and was followed by a sham hearing conducted by the IS Director. Although he knew I was innocent, he dismissed me dishonestly. His decision was dishonestly upheld by two further Directors, including the HR Director. I submitted grievances against all of these dishonest Directors to the new Principal. He failed to action my grievances.

The University was issued with a request by the Tribunal to answer my questions on 16 November 2010. The questions seek to discover the facts that were said to have been relied upon to reject my allegations of bullying. Surprisingly, the University refused to comply with the request saying that the questions are irrelevant. I've now been waiting more than four months for the answers which are most certainly relevant. If, as I expect, they show that the investigation was a sham, then:

it supports my position that I was dismissed as a result of making a protected disclosure. This would make my dismissal automatically unfair.

it supports my position that the disciplinary procedure was also a sham, because Karen Stark took part in both procedures.

it supports my position that the purpose of the 'investigation' was to cause bad feelings, rather than to discover facts.

it would also represent detriment following my protected disclosure.

Mr Toole included the outcome of the grievance in his reason for dismissing me, and that would make it unfair.

it would support my claim of sex discrimination.

it would show that Mr Clarke had also been dishonest when rejecting my appeal, making it even more likely that my dismissal was unfair.

Tribunals can increase compensation by up to 25% where employers have failed to carry out grievance and disciplinary procedures appropriately.

the Uni has hinted that it may seek costs from me for raising a misconceived claim. This would help make that unlikely. Indeed I may seek costs from the Uni.

the Tribunal hearing would take far less time, and that benefits everybody.

Clearly it would greatly help my case. However, if the answers show that the investigation was thorough and fair, then it would greatly help the Uni's case. So ask yourself why they are so reluctant to provide the answers. Well, I was recently told that they are also concerned that I may publish the answers on my blog.

Stirling University now say they may voluntarily(?) provide me with the answers to my questions in the next few days. So here's my genuine offer. If they answer my questions fully and honestly in the next few days, I will guarantee that they will not appear on my blog. I make this offer in good faith, and in the hope that we can move forward, and towards a point when, hopefully, there may be no need for me to continue with my blog.

17 March 2011

Timeline for the questions and answers.

8 November 2010
Tribunal orders me to provide answers to questions about my protected disclosures, including the obligations Stirling University had failed to comply with, the detriment to which I was subjected, and the facts that link the detriment to the protected disclosures.

15 November 2010
I answer the questions honestly, and in full with no legal assistance. My disclosures easily qualify for protection, because the University has failed to comply with multiple obligations.

16 November 2010
Tribunal asks Stirling University to provide answers to my questions. They are asked to provide the facts that were used to come to the decision to reject the allegations contained in my grievance, and to uphold my manager's allegations, and to explain how the investigation produced these facts. They are also asked to explain how my email to the Principal does not qualify as a protected disclosure.

23 November 2010
Stirling University refuses to answer the questions, claiming them to be irrelevant to my case.

23 November 2010, 20 December 2010 and 3 March 2011
I write to confirm that the questions are relevant to my case and clearly state why they are relevant.

11 March 2011
Anticipating an order from the Tribunal to answer the questions, Stirling University say they will consider answering at least some of the questions, depending on the extent to which Mr Toole had considered the outcome of the grievances when he dismissed me.

14 March 2011
I write again saying that all of the questions are relevant, and again I state why. I say that the extent to which Mr Toole allegedly considered the grievance outcome is not relevant. His reason for dismissal refers to it. I question if the Uni are now changing their reason for dismissal.

17 March 2011
I create this post in my blog.

18 March 2011
Stirling University write to say that they will answer the questions, but they still say the questions are not relevant to my case. They say it could take two weeks to provide the answers, and they blame me for this because of the level of detail that is likely to be necessary to satisfy me.

The level of detail I require is the same level of detail that would have been required by Mrs Schofield in order to come to her decision.

While I am pleased that, after more than four months, the Uni has finally decided to answer the questions, I am surprised that it should require another two weeks to provide the answers. They claim that they completed the thorough investigation itself within one week. The answers to my questions should already exist because Mrs Schofield had to use the facts that allegedly came from the investigation in order to make her decision. If they did indeed carry out the thorough investigation they say they did, it should take no more than an hour to answer my questions. However, in reality, it should take no more than ten minutes because the allegations were not investigated; or at least if they were investigated, the facts were ignored because they did not support the required decision.

So they need an additional two weeks on top of the previous four months to try to come up with something that makes it sound as though they genuinely investigated all of the allegations within one week, and that the investigation produced facts which refuted all my allegations (including the ones that are irrefutable) and supported Kathy McCabe's allegations (which are all vexatious).

Alternatively, they may tell the truth and admit that the decision was based on something other than facts, while defiantly insisting that the questions are not relevant to the case. What's it to be, I wonder? So far, they have omitted to say why the questions are not relevant.

26 March 2011
It's now nine days since I made my offer to Stirling University, and I've still not received any answers to my questions.

I'm looking forward to receiving the answers. I know that there is no way that they could have discovered facts that support Eileen Schofield's decision, but University management has landed themselves in a very difficult position due to their corrupt activities. Not only do they have to produce facts that don't and can't exist; they also have to describe how their investigation produced those facts, while demonstrating that the investigation was thorough and fair, and that they have been even handed. This is made all the more difficult by me having copies of the witness statements. It means they can't just invent facts from those. They've now given themselves a further problem by promising the Tribunal that they will provide answers with a level of detail that they say needs twice as much time to put on paper than it took to investigate.

I'm especially looking forward to seeing how the Uni answers one of Kathy's most bizarre allegations; Constant threat of bringing a grievance but never acting on it. This is the type of stupid lie that I could maybe imagine a five year old spoilt child blurting out in the spur of the moment during a tantrum. However, even a child would quickly become embarrassed once they realised it was obvious to everyone that it was a lie. Mrs Kathy McCabe is over 50 years old. She has been a senior manager for 12 years and earns in excess of £50,000 a year. She didn't say this on the spur of the moment, but had taken the time to type it into her official grievance document. She sent that document to Karen Stark whom she must have known would instantly recognise that it was a lie. Karen did not question me or Kathy about this at the hearing. It is a very serious matter to make malicious complaints, and Karen Stark must know that.

Answering my questions will just be the beginning of their difficulties. At the Tribunal hearing, they'll be asked about the investigation and its purpose. What was the purpose of the hearing? Why did they ask the questions they did, and not the ones they should have asked? Why was a lot of evidence ignored? Why did they say they checked Kathy's statement when they obviously hadn't? Why did they not interview the obvious witnesses, including the one I suggested? Why was I never subjected to disciplinary action before I made my protected disclosure? Why was I not allowed to respond to witness statements as asked. Why was I only asked to summarise my grievance when the report falsely claims I was asked to present my whole grievance? Why was Kathy not asked to respond to my allegations? Why, when they knew of the mental injuries I'd already suffered, did they deliberately act in a way that was likely to rub salt in the wounds? How could Kevin Clarke fail to see the procedural flaws?

It will quickly become very clear that the process was a complete sham, and that Kathy McCabe, Eileen Schofield, Karen Stark and Kevin Clarke are all guilty of gross misconduct, for which they have not yet been punished. The questions I've asked are the questions that Principal Gerry (I focus on getting the best out of people) McCormac is paid a quarter of a million pounds a year to ask. So why didn't he? It will also be clear that former Principal, Christine Hallett had completely mishandled my protected disclosure in which I alerted her to the fact that management and HR were not taking the matter seriously, and that it was seriously damaging my health. She just allowed this farce to happen.

I have suffered the most severe mental torture in the 13 months since I told the Principal about it. I'm hoping that the torture will soon be over, and that justice will be seen to be done. However, I think it will take a very long time for me to get my life back on track. At this moment I can't visualise it. Six years of my life have been ruined, and the last year has been sheer hell. The shocking truth is that around 15 people were willing to lie in order to ruin my life. They were effectively happy to line up to stab me in the heart. The most shocking was Selina Gibb who, just weeks before, seemed ever so genuinely concerned about my health. Then I learned that she had lied in order to deprive me of my livelihood. Other 'friends' were unwilling to come forward and tell the truth. That is far from a confidence boost for someone who was already known to suffer from a lack of confidence and assertiveness. Another 'friend' enthusiastically asked me to phone him at home the following day, and then simply wouldn't answer my calls. He answered one of my calls, but wouldn't speak. He just pretended he wasn't there. How ridiculous! He, along with Jackie O'Neil, holds an executive position within the local branch of the UCU union. He was by no means a friend of Kathy McCabe, and was well aware of her discriminatory behaviour. The next day, I felt suicidal. It was not the first time, but it was easily the strongest. I had even changed my socks and underwear in preparation.

31 March 2011
It's now two weeks since I made my offer in good faith. It no longer applies.

Stirling University has one more day to comply with the commitment they made to the Employment Tribunal that they would answer my questions in full.

1 April 2011
On the day by which Stirling University said they would furnish me with the answers to my questions, they have written to the Tribunal to say that they need more time.

The information I've requested, which allegedly already exists, is going to take another two weeks to prepare. "Substantial progress" has been made they say, but two of the personnel involved in preparing the document are on pre-planned leave next week.

Stirling University is making a mockery of the Employment Tribunal process. The information I've requested should take one person (Eileen Schofield) MINUTES, not a team of personnel MONTHS. They say that they now hope to be able to respond by 15 April 2011. I'm not holding my breath.

Assuming the Tribunal allows this additional time, it gives the Uni two more weeks to consider their options. In my opinion, their options are now less attractive than they were when they first agreed to provide the answers. Their best option then was to have told the truth. I still think their best option is to tell the truth, but if they do that now, it will be obvious that they have been stalling, and lying about making "substantial progress".

Another option will be to stall again. We might find, for example, that two personnel have been on unplanned sick leave, or that a dog has eaten the document. The Tribunal will eventually lose patience with this, though, and of course, they would be no better off. They are just delaying the inevitable, and the longer they take, the worse it looks for them.

Another option is to lie and provide false answers that make the decision appear correct. That will be far from easy, and if they were intending to try this, they should have tried it before now, because they still have to make it appear that the information existed a year ago, but now they have to make it appear that at least three weeks was required merely to document this information that they said already existed.

The false answers option will be extremely difficult, and it is fraught with danger. The Uni would risk having their entire case thrown out or being denied the right to give evidence. It would probably be picked up by the media, and would severely damage the reputation of the Uni and of the individuals concerned.

For each allegation that Kathy and I made, they would have to somehow demonstrate a fair and thorough investigation was made that included referring to supporting evidence we provided. Then they have to state the facts that the investigation uncovered that support the decision. Even by giving false answers, this will be incredibly difficult to achieve. I certainly wouldn't want that job. There are no facts that came from the interviews that support Kathy's allegations and refute mine. I can only think that the Uni could try creating documents, and claim they existed at the time. That would be very dangerous, and it still wouldn't solve the massive problem they are facing.

Let's take one example; Kathy's allegation of Constant threat of raising a grievance but never acting on it. There is simply no way they could say they investigated this, and didn't find it to be a vexatious allegation. It was not raised in any of the interviews, including mine and Kathy's. Karen Stark, who helped carry out the investigation, was fully aware that I had already raised two grievances against Kathy, and that Kathy was fully aware of them. There is documentary evidence to prove this. There can be no evidence of me constantly threatening to raise a grievance, unless they create it now. That would then raise the question of why Kathy didn't include it with her grievance to support her allegation.

Immediately before the investigation began, Karen Stark wrote to tell me that they were obliged to investigate the allegations thoroughly. That just increases the difficulty they have. Added to this, Karen had witnessed Kathy bullying me, with other witnesses present.

They have to show that none of my allegations were true or represented bullying, dishonesty or sex discrimination. Eileen Schofield, in her report, considered whether my allegations were vexatious. The answers will have to show that that was a reasonable consideration.

They will also have to show evidence of the merit award that Kathy claims she gave me, and also evidence that she promoted me to Trainee Database Administrator. These will prove very difficult to achieve since the Payroll Manager already confirmed to me in writing that these claims are both untrue. Yet somehow, Eileen Schofield claimed she checked these facts.

... and much, much more ...

My guess is that the Uni will stall again. Can everyone please try to refrain from slitting Eileen Schofield's throat until I receive the answers!

And we haven't even touched on Mark Toole's fake investigation yet. He will have to explain how the impossible is possible. I don't envy that job either.

I wrote to the Tribunal to complain about the university's stalling tactics. I reminded them that the information I've requested should already exist, and that I first asked for it 5 months ago.

8 April 2011
Stirling University rejects my suggestion that they are stalling. They say that they are merely ensuring sufficient time and resource is expended to ensure that their response is properly prepared. They don't say why it is taking so long, and they don't say why they think the information is not relevant to my claim.

15 April 2011
At 5:21pm, just five months to the day since I asked my questions, Stirling University has finally answered them; or at least some of them. For example, I really wanted to publish the details of their investigation into Kathy's allegation about me constantly threatening to raise a grievance but never acting on it; but unfortunately they've decided that, even though it was one of Kathy's main allegations, it would be best not to refer to it in their answers. I can imagine it would be very difficult to provide an answer that didn't include the word nutjob.

The reason Stirling University took 5 months to provide the details of the investigation, is because no real investigation took place. The details they have provided could not have come from any investigation that took place in March 2010 because it refers to information that simply didn't exist at that time. The reason they have been stalling is because they have been trying to invent a new, fraudulent investigation and pretend it happened in March 2010. They will have some explaining to do at the hearing.


Eileen Schofield death threat

Eileen Schofield, Deputy Secretary

Eileen Schofield, who conducted a sham grievance procedure between myself and Kathy McCabe, appears to have upset a Postgraduate researcher to the point where he felt the need to threaten to slit her throat if she ever lied to him again.

STV report here.

The report describes emails sent to Mrs Schofield with subjects 'You're an ignorant piece of sh*t' and 'C*nt'. One email said 'Your disciplinary procedures are a lot of sh*te. Mess with me again and I will kill you.'.

The report does not say whether, despite his threat, Mrs Schofield intends to continue with her corrupt practices.

BBC report here.

The report describes Mrs Schofield as "responsible for staff discipline". However, my own experience of Mrs Schofield is that she is corrupt, and she deliberately ignored evidence and came up with the dishonest decision that I had not been bullied by my manager to the detriment of my health, but that I had in fact bullied Mrs McCabe.

Since 15 November 2010, Stirling University has refused to provide me with the facts that Mrs Schofield used to arrive at her ridiculous decision. At first they claimed that these facts were irrelevant to the claim I brought to the Employment Tribunal. They now say that it is because I will "think about them", and that they are not sure whether I want them for the Tribunal, or for my blog which, despite its increased viewing figures, they say is not popular with certain members of staff.

It is unclear why the University thinks I would publish facts that would allow the public to see proof that I bullied my allegedly completely innocent manager who treated the team fairly and consistently. It is also unclear why the University would be opposed to me publishing these facts. One would have thought they would insist I publish them.


Bullying and suicide - Bullycide

I believe bullying is the single most important social issue of today, for the study of bullying provides an opportunity to understand the behaviours which underlie almost all conflict and violence.
Tim Field

Bullying can lead victims to utter despair. It's not just the bullying itself, but victims can find themselves isolated when friends desert them for fear that they too will be victimised. Friends and bystanders can also lie and deny that there was any bullying. Even worse, friends may believe there is something to be gained by toadying up to the bullies, and to join in with bullying their former friend, or to falsely claim that the victim is the bully. Believe me, it happens, and it is far from pleasant.

In addition, if you've been unfairly dismissed after complaining about being bullied, it can be difficult to get another job with no references, even if you are in a mental state, and have the confidence to work again.

I would love for me and my team, and others I've mentioned on my blog to spend a morning on the Jeremy Kyle show on TV to answer questions while we are hooked up to lie detectors. It would be a real eye opener for the public. Tim Field was correct; bullying has far reaching effects, and the public has to be made aware of it.

Here is the story of a young girl who was beaten up on a bus. Her screams were ignored by the other passengers pretending it wasn't happening because they didn't want to get involved.

Here is the story of a young girl who was gang raped in view of 20 bystanders for over two hours before anyone informed the police.

"I don't want to get involved" is the same as "I'm all right, Jack". You are sick in the head if you enjoy watching people suffer. You are also sick in the head if you add to the suffering by lying.

In desperation, victims may consider suicide. Undoubtedly, more victims would kill themselves but for the fact that it isn't easy. Sure, a lot of people have succeeded, but I suspect that many of them will either have had great courage, or they were so desperate that they didn't give enough thought to how difficult it really is, and may have suffered unbearable physical pain before they eventually died.

If you have found this page because you are thinking of killing yourself, then I am not going to discourage you, but I won't be encouraging you either. Obviously, councelling (Samaritans and Pieta) may help you make your mind up, but ultimately the decision is yours. However, if you eventually decide that the only solution is to kill yourself, then you ought to be fully aware of what you are doing.

Do not attempt suicide unless you are 100% certain that you want to die. I do not say this to discourage anyone who is already completely sold on the idea, it's just that if doubts creep in, they will increase the risk of failure. If what you want is for the pain to go away, councelling might be worthwhile. If you obtain some relief through harming yourself, be sure that it doesn't develop into something that can put your life at risk or cause you serious damage.

If you attempt suicide and fail, you could leave yourself a lot worse off. You could be permanently disabled or disfigured. You, or someone else, could be financially worse off. Your failed attempt may result in you being prosecuted due to damage or distress you may have caused. As well as the problems you already have, people will learn of your attempt to kill yourself and some will think that you have mental problems, and of course, they will be right.

I would certainly discourage you from attempting suicide as a cry for help. You could easily end up dead, and nobody can help you when you're dead. Get councelling now. I genuinely feel for you, but this page is not for you. God only knows how many apparently successful suicides were, in reality, unsuccessful cries for help.

You must consider the people you leave behind. Who will find you, and how will it effect them? What will the scene be like when you are found? If you have dependants, what will happen to them? You must make it very clear why you are doing it, otherwise innocent people may blame themselves. If you write a note, read it back to make sure it is legible and makes sense. Provide contact details of people who should be informed, and put your note somewhere it is sure to be found in good condition.

If you haven't thought about it already, you need to consider the best method for yourself. If you are like most people, you will want it to be quick and painless. You definitely do not want half an hour of excrutiating physical pain, even if you do attain your ultimate goal at the end of it. So if your chosen method is to slit your wrist, you need to give it a helluva lot more thought. By using that method, you could be in terrible pain for a long time during which you will be tempted to call for help. When you eventually return from hospital, you may find your home and belongings covered in thick, deep red blood. You would also have cost taxpayers the expense of saving you, which is the opposite of what you had in mind. You would also have the scars that announce your mental illness to everyone.

You need to be aware that you will be fighting against your natural human survival instinct. For example, if you can swim, it would be almost impossible to drown yourself, because you would instinctively come up for air. Other methods could have horrendous consequences if you instinctively change your mind at the last moment.

As well as considering the time and pain factors, each method has a success ratio. So you need to investigate which methods have low failure rates, and consider if you have the courage to employ any of those methods. You may need to do a fair bit of research.

I'm writing this in the UK where it's difficult to gain access to firearms. Even if you do manage to get hold of one, you may be surprised to learn that some people have made botched attempts with a gun, leaving themselves in a dreadful condition. I say this because you may believe that pulling a trigger is an option that requires less courage than others.

People who survive after jumping from a bridge frequently admit that while they were falling, they wished they hadn't jumped. Often they go on to live happy lives. So maybe you should try to visualise yourself plummeting to your death and wondering if you made the right choice.

Apparently there is a suicide pill available in Mexico. That might sound attractive for its simplicity. It's not risk free though, because it has a shelf life, and there are people who sell these pills knowing that they have gone past their sell by date. Yep, there is even profit to be made by keeping suicidal people alive.

If you are religious; you may wish to consider what comes after death. It might be 72 virgins or it might be an eternity of burning in maggot infested fire. Although I'm not religious, I still wonder if there might be something after death. I also wonder if people who kill themselves are punished for it. It used to be against the law to attempt suicide, and the bible says "Thou shalt not kill." In modern language, that means "You must not kill." I haven't read a whole bible, but I doubt if it says it's okay for priests to sexually abuse children. Maybe it's time for somebody to write a newer testament that clarifies the rules and penalties on these matters.

In almost every country, men kill themselves far more often than women. Instead of killing yourself, perhaps you should first consider a sex change?

In the UK, farmers and people in the medical professions have the highest suicide rates. I don't think that it's because they have depressing jobs, but because they have the knowledge and weapons required for the most efficient suicide methods. It's much more difficult for the rest of us. You could become a farmer; but what if you enjoyed it? What a dilemma!

Perhaps one day in the future people will be able to arrange an appointment with their doctor for to be killed humanely and painlessly, just like a vet kills a lame or stray dog. Or maybe Tescos will sell DIY suicide kits.

There is a strong case for a risk free, private, quick, painless, clean, dignified suicide. It would be far less expensive in terms of damage to property, searches for bodies, police investigations, clearing up the mess, medical staff and families having to care for permanently damaged relatives, etc; and children wouldn't be traumatised by finding pieces of human bodies while out playing. However, there is no sign of 'drop in suicide shops' coming soon, so people have to come up with their own home made plans.

None of us receive training on how to commit suicide; you have to teach yourself. It won't help if you're a slow learner; you'll just have to think longer, or rule it out.

I'm not a doctor, and I haven't attempted suicide. I don't have all the answers for you. You have to find out all your answers for yourself. Once you come up with your plan, you should run it past the Samaritans just in case there is something you have not thought of.

If you decide to kill yourself as a result of bullying, it means that the bullies get their ultimate victory. Don't think for a second that they'll feel any guilt. More likely they will dance on your grave, make up stories about you, and make fun of you on facebook. Where's the justice in that? Why should YOU die to please THEM?

Best wishes and lots of love