The Public Interest

One of the reasons this blog exists is because it contains information I believe is in the public interest.

When I wrote to the then Principal of Stirling University, Professor Christine Hallett in February 2010, it wasn't because of a trivial matter. The IS department was being run in a manner that was hazardous to the health of employees. Sex discrimination and bullying was taking place so often that employees had just come to expect it. Not only that, but they expected that nothing would ever be done about it.

I stuck my neck out and made the Principal aware of it. It had to stop, and she seemed to be the person who had a mind to stop it. Just a few days earlier she wrote to every member of staff telling us how committed the university was to allowing us all to work free from bullying, sex discrimination and victimisation.

The email I sent her informed her that Stirling University was failing to comply with its legal obligations by not caring for employees' health properly and for turning a blind eye to sex discrimination. I was also suggesting that senior management were covering up these illegal acts by pretending they didn't happen. The information I gave her should have had her taking immediate steps to ensure that the university acted within the law.

Because of the contents of my email, I was protected under whistleblowing laws, namely the Public Interest Disclosures Act. What that means is that I was protected from the university taking any action that would be to my detriment because of that email to the Principal. Acts such as: victimisation, further bullying, ostracising, subjecting me to a sham grievance procedure, placing me under suspension for no good reason and for far too long, refusing to deal with my legitimate complaints, subjecting me to malicious complaints, subjecting me to a sham disciplinary procedure, unfair dismissal, all acts that were designed to cause further damage to my health.

The point I wish to make here was that I was doing the Principal and the university a favour. What I did was good for everybody concerned. It was in the public interest. However, when I say that it was good for everybody concerned, I mean that it was good for the honest and non corrupt members of staff; the vast majority. It was not seen as good for those members of staff who could not work under conditions where they are not allowed to bully or discriminate for illegal reasons. Unfortunately, there were more of these people than I had imagined possible at Stirling Uni.

And what thanks did I receive from Prof. Hallett in return? I got fired! I could have had no way of knowing it at the time, but the victimisation and bullying and sex discrimination was happening with her blessing. It genuinely never occurred to me that, in 21st century Britain, people get fired for blowing the whistle on illegal practices. Least of all; I did not expect it to happen in a university.

University of Stirling sees whistleblowers in a negative light. They view them as troublemakers. Of course, you won't find that written in any university policy document.

The policy documents that Stirling University publishes on its website are merely cosmetic. They are also traps. Any innocent employee hoping to make use of its published grievance procedures should be very wary of using them. To my cost, I found that the real procedures; the ones that they don't publish, are very different indeed.

They tell you that you will be given an opportunity to state your case. I never got that opportunity. And that's a fact that it took the university over a year to admit, after Eileen Schofield had said not once, but two times in her report that I was asked to present my case. They say that your grievance will be decided using the facts. The facts in my case were completely ignored. However, 'facts' that didn't exist were used instead.

Colleagues that you've worked alongside for many years will suddenly lose their memory when they are interviewed. It's as if a disease strikes your department. Why do they suddenly lose their memory? Fear! In some cases, it's fear of victimisation. In some cases it's fear of losing special privileges. It doesn't tell you about that in the grievance procedure. If you do have a colleague who is willing to back you up, their evidence will be ignored, and they will be victimised. It doesn't say that in the published procedures either.

The procedure is correct in saying that you have the right to appeal. However, you shouldn't put too much faith in the appeal. The same tactics that were used at the original grievance are used again. The Appeal Officer won't see the flaws in the process, even after you have pointed them out. There is one statement in the grievance procedure that I can find no fault with; the outcome of the appeal hearing will be final.

The grievance procedure also states that you can raise grievances within three months of you leaving. Well, that's what it says, but it's not what happens. I lodged thirteen formal grievances with Gerry McCormac within three months of leaving, and he replied saying:

I refer to your letter dated 23 September 2010.

I write to confirm that all internal mechanisms within the University that were available to you as an employee have now been exhausted. Accordingly, there is no grievance procedure available to you. I confirm, therefore, that all correspondence between you and the University on this matter is now regarded as closed.

Yours sincerely

Principal and Vice Chancellor

Gerry is the current Principal. My letter to Gerry also informs him of substantial corrupt practices at the university, including its failure in its duty to care for my health. Can you see anything in Gerry's response that suggests that he intends to rid Stirling University of its corrupt practices? I don't see it.

Something else that it doesn't say in the grievance procedure, is that you can end up sacked. That's what happened to me. The only way I have of resolving this now is via the Employment Tribunal Services. I made my claim to the tribunal in September 2010. The hearing hasn't begun yet. These things clearly take time.

I opened this post by saying that this blog exists partly because it contains information that I believe is in the public interest. I am aware that the contents of this blog are causing embarrassment to some employees at Stirling University, and they would like the blog to be removed. They even paid their lawyer to send pages of my blog to the Employment Tribunal judge to support their assertion that I should be denied my legal rights to cross examine witnesses; witnesses they know to be liars; particularly Mrs Kathy McCabe who said several times during mediation that 'Honesty goes to the core of my very being'. We will see at the hearing just how honest Mrs McCabe is.

I acted in the public interest by blowing the whistle to two Stirling University Principals. It amazes me that the university should now expect that, after having unfairly sacked me, I should suddenly stop blowing the whistle and keep my mouth shut. That just doesn't make sense to me. It's as if they are asking me to reward them for unfairly dismissing me, by allowing them to continue to mistreat staff without the general public getting to know about it. They want to be able to continue with their bullying and unfair dismissals and sham procedures, but they would prefer it was not widely known. They don't want to have a reputation for corruption, they just want to be corrupt on the quiet. Sorry, but no can do!

To those people who are embarrassed by their own actions, I'd say that if they had behaved appropriately, they would have nothing to be embarrassed about. Furthermore, I have said this many times before; if there is anything I've said in my blog that is not true, then I would be the first person to want it removed. It would not be in the public interest for me to publish any untruths. So please tell me if you spot anything that is not true. I should also point out that in the 14 months that it has been on public view, I have not received one single notice of anything in my blog being inaccurate. May I suggest that that is because it is all true.

Once the hearing begins, I hope whenever possible, to report on what's happening on my blog. Tribunal hearings are open to the public as well as the press. There are no restrictions that I am aware of that prevent anyone from reporting events on their blog. And unless I'm officially told otherwise; that's what I will do. If a witness was to lie under oath, I will report that here, and if possible I will also publish the evidence that shows that they lied. The fact that it will prove embarrassing to the liars is merely a bonus. My recommendation would be; don't lie!

Each time I'm told by the uni that their corrupt employees don't like my blog, it fills my heart with joy. I do so hope they keep telling me!

I can't make my mind up about who I'm most looking forward to cross examining. I'm like a kid in a sweetshop. High on the list has to be Kathy McCabe. I genuinely thought that it would never happen, but that will be a very special day. Karen Stark is well up there too. Then the investigators, Gail Miller and Graham Millar; what on earth could they possibly say in defense of their investigation? I never thought I'd be allowed to cross examine Eileen MacDonald either. I thought she was on the protected list, but I guess not. That will be a special day too. She doesn't know what she's got coming yet. Mark Toole is obviously another I can't wait to question. Eileen Schofield too. I can't wait to go through the fraudulent document with her. What will Jackie O'Neil be like? Will she start shouting at me and the tribunal members? Will she slam her fist down and insist she never shouts at people? What will Christine Hallett have to say for herself? And Peter Kemp too! What can he possibly say? Then I get to go through Una Forsyth's and Selina Gibb's statements with a fine tooth comb too. I hope to receive their answers to my questions soon.

I look forward to the day that my blog is seen by an even greater audience. That might be triggered by some action that the university may be about to take. Go ahead; make my day! You declared war on the wrong bloke.

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