Karen Stark - An Addiction to Fraud

I an earlier post, I spoke of the fraudulent document that Stirling Univesity gave to the Employment Tribunal to try to mislead them into thinking that all of my grievances against Kathy McCabe were thoroughly investigated. It would have been useful if Karen Stark and Eileen Schofield had produced this document at the time the alleged investigations took place. Not only would it have been useful; it would surely have been natural. Eileen is the university's Deputy Secretary on grade 10. She probably earns around £80,000 per year. Karen is on Grade 8, earning £44,000. This is not a pair of inexperienced juniors fresh from school. Any investigation would surely have been carefully planned and executed, and the findings would have been meticulously recorded BEFORE the outcome was decided. That's how I think most people would expect a proper investigation of their concerns to be carried out. Many of my complaints were of being bullied over several years, and the university promises that such complaints will be taken 'extremely seriously', so you would imagine there would be considerable evidence of this. Some of my complaints were of sex discrimination, and just days before I lodged my grievance, the Principal had written to every member of staff, including Eileen and Karen, emphasising how Stirling University was committed to diversity, and ensuring staff could work free from discrimination and victimisation. Karen even saw and acknowledged the protected disclosure I made to the Principal, in which I describe how senior management and HR had failed in its duty of care by allowing Kathy to continue bullying me to the serious detriment of my health.

In theory, my protected disclosure to the Principal should have raised alarm bells. The Principal should have been concerned that the university's committment, that she had just told us all about, didn't really exist, and that possibly HR and senior management had fooled her into thinking that there ever was such a committment. The question I feel the Principal should answer under oath is "Was she just innocently incompetent, or was she lying when she wrote to every single member of her staff?" I don't know if there is a third option, but she should have the opportunity to explain. I have asked for Christine Hallett to appear at the tribunal for cross examination, but the uni has objected to this. I feel that Christine should have the opportunity to clear her name, if she wants to. Christine is well known for claiming expenses, and I'm pretty sure the tribunal would fully refund any reasonable expenses she may incur in attending.

Obviously, if she was to tell the tribunal that she didn't lie to every single member of staff while being paid £250,000 a year to do so, then I would need her to explain her response to my protected disclosure. Her 'committment' seemed to have somewhat fallen short of what she had described to us all just days earlier. Could she have forgotten so quickly?

Much of what I said in my protected disclosure referred to meetings that took place with Karen Stark attending as the note taker. Most notable during these meetings was the behaviour of one Kathy McCabe. This was the Kathy that my team rarely got to see. It was the same Kathy who behaved in the same way during mediation. She acted like a spoilt little girl accused of stealing and eating all of the chocolate biscuits; screaming that it wasn't her, and blaming her innocent little brother, while the chocolate on her face and on her pretty dress told a different story. During mediation, she defiantly refused to answer any questions; she even left the room in a tantrum! At the time I felt embarrassed for Colin Sinclair; this was his friend who was behaving like a child. Ruth and I had genuinely believed him when he said he had always known her to be honest. We could never have anticipated that he would later make a statement saying that Kathy had answered my questions. Colin and Kathy are both IT managers at the uni. Graham Millar is another. All three are corrupt. David Gardiner is another IT manager at the uni. He is also close friends with Kathy and Colin. To my knowledge, he has played no part in this sham. However, he did stop speaking to me after I lodged my grievance against Kathy. The reason I mention David is because he came over to me and a friend I was with in a pub in Stirling one night, and threatened me; not physically, but with his powers of corruption. He had jumped to the wrong conclusion about me and my friend. He later apologised, blaming alcohol, but the damage was done. And he was so proud of his ability and willingness to abuse his powers that he wanted my friend to hear all about how he could ruin my career. The little shit was trying to scare me and embarrass me. He is an embarrassment to himself. I spent much of another evening with him once. Once again he was the worse for drink, and he described his hatred for his ex-wife's boyfriend, and what he planned to do if the opportunity arose. Many people will recognise David as a friendly, jovial bloke. I think it's a mask, and alcohol removes the mask to reveal the true David. With David, we probably wouldn't need lie detector tests; just alcohol!

So that's four IT managers as well as their boss, Mark Toole and former boss, Peter Kemp. Will the honest IT manager please stand up.

Back to Karen Stark, the note taker! Being involved with grievance and disciplinary procedures, I am always amazed at the accuracy of the notes taken by the note takers. The note taker is generally someone who is drawn from HR who has no prior involvement or emotional investment in the proceedings. The notes are not perfect by any means; that would be impossible without an audio recording device, but I'm genuinely surprised how accurate they are, given how much is said, the speed with which it is said, and that the topic being discussed may include terms the note taker may never have heard before. No meeting was ever stopped in order for the note taker to ask for something to be repeated, or to ask for time to catch up. It is a skill I truly wish I had. There might be little bits that are slightly wrong, but you can always tell that it was a genuine attempt to record what was said. The note taker then takes their handwritten notes, types them up, and files away both copies in electronic format. It's almost bulletproof.

There is but one exception to this, and that is when the note taker is Karen Stark. Karen was the note taker at a meeting attended by Mark Toole, Kathy, Lynn McDonald and my union representative, Dave Edgar. For most of the meeting, Kathy attacked me with malicious criticism. It was an act of desperation because at a previous meeting, Mark had told her that criticism should be delivered privately and it should be evidence based. She had agreed to that, but I could see that she was embarrassed at having basically been told by Mark that she was behaving like a bully. She was out for revenge, and that meant increasing the bullying. It was as if she had totally lost all sense of reason. The things she was criticising me about were things that any normal manager would have thanked me for. Much of this absurd criticism, and my response to it did not appear in Karen's notes.

I pointed out to Kathy that her arms were folded, and that she had told me she had complained to the uni that I had my arms folded during a meeting, and she thinks it's aggressive. She quickly unfolded her arms and said that she hadn't noticed. This didn't appear in Karen's notes.

I highlighted how she treats me differently from other team members, because when I had written to her saying that a colleague had physically assaulted me, she din't even reply. She then amazingly claimed that I had never told her of the assault. I reminded her that I had told her in an email. She denied it, just as she had denied receiving other emails from me. I offered to go and fetch the email, and asked her in advance what she would say once I showed it to her. This was because when I had shown her another email that she insisted she never received, she made up some stupid excuse about it. Dave asked her if she had known about the assault. She admitted that she had known. Dave asked her what she did about it. She said she didn't do anything about it. Dave asked her why she took no action, and she said it was because she wasn't present at the time of the assault.

Karen's notes do not refer to the fact that my manager thought that arm folding, which every single member of the team did, is so aggressive that it warranted a written complaint to the uni, while physical assault warranted no action whatsoever.

This is just a small sample of what Karen's notes do not include. This is particularly important because my grievance against Kathy included her behaviour at these meetings. But when Karen and Eileen came to investigate this complaint, the thorough investigation that I was promised turned out to be a complete sham. None of the witnesses were interviewed. There was a strange rule applied about witnesses. In order for a witness to be interviewed, their name had to appear in the documents that Kathy and I had lodged. But all of the attendees at those meetings were named in the documents, and so could have been interviewed anyway. So they were deliberately not interviewed. The entire investigation for my complaint consisted of Karen looking at her notes. Her notes didn't include anything worthy of complaint, so my complaint was rejected.

Karen's notes may originally have been accurate, but I didn't get to see them until after the grievance process. It is possible that she tampered with the notes to remove anything that was too incriminating for Kathy. I asked Karen for her handwritten version of the notes, but she said she destroyed them after she typed them up. all of the other note takers keep both versions.

Karen will have some explaining to do at the tribunal, about how these notes are so inaccurate, and why she destroyed her handwritten notes, and why the witnesses were not interviewed. This is in addition to her fraudulent investigation details document. She has produced a fraudulent document which, in turn, refers to another fraudulent document that she produced.

This amount and degree of fraud could mean a spell in the slammer for Karen, and I think she fully deserves it. Karen was already aware that her behaviour was damaging my health.

It will be interesting to see if Karen insists her notes are accurate, and that my account of these meetings that were attended by several witnesses, is false. Or will she once again claim that it was just a mistake? God knows where she is going with this, but she certainly has acquired a taste for fraud.

After the grievance decision was announced, Kevin Clarke described Karen as "highly professional". This raises very serious concerns about the University Secretary's judgement. Will he still be saying that when she's on her way to jail? Was Karen working to his instructions? Why is she still in her job where she could be doing this to more and more innocent employees? Is nobody at the uni calling for an investigation into her behaviour?

Regarding Karen's fraud, there could even be more. Watch this space...

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