The Lies

Despite having a high level of intelligence, Kathy McCabe is a terrible and compulsive liar. She automatically lies under very little pressure. For example, rather than admit to making a mistake, she becomes defensive, and immediately lies to cover it up.

Kathy had arranged SQLServer training, from an external training company, for David Black and me. In court, she claimed that this was due to David and me having pressed her for this training because of the increasing number of SQLServer databases in the uni. That was the first lie, because she arranged it herself out of the blue. Indeed I doubt if David would have been aware of any such databases at that time.

David and I were to arrange when we were to attend the training. Shortly after Kathy told us about it, we learned that we had been downgraded by the role evaluation process. Then I went off work sick with stress for five weeks, and when I returned, I was still suffering from stress, and to attend training would have been pointless, as I wouldn't have been able to concentrate. I planned to wait until the stress had reduced before I attended the training.

Then in November 2008, Kathy informed David and me that the training vouchers she had bought for us were due to expire within a month. Neither of us could manage to attend within that time, so Kathy tried to give the vouchers to other team members for a different use, but in the end the vouchers expired before anyone could use them.

At her grievance interview, Kathy lied and said that she had told David and me several times that the vouchers had a deadline by which they had to be used, when in fact she hadn't told us about the existence of vouchers at all until a month before they were due to expire.

This was a lie that David didn't know Kathy had made up, so when I asked him about it at the tribunal hearing, he saw no reason not to tell the truth. I then showed him Kathy's statement from her grievance hearing. I suspect that if he'd known in advance that Kathy had lied, he would have covered for her. Later, Kathy repeated her lies under oath.

Peter Kemp, just as I strongly suspected, lied to me after I submitted a 25 page informal grievance against Kathy McCabe in which I give considerable detail about her behaviour.

In 2008, I wrote to him complaining that Kathy had written to the entire team to arrange for them to decide on an issue relating to database security which was my responsibility as Database Administrator. She did this to undermine me because Eileen MacDonald repeatedly refused to work within the agreed security procedures. Peter replied claiming that he had told Kathy to arrange this. At the hearing, Kathy confirmed that she did this on her own initiative.

Stirling University claims that they take complaints of bullying "extremely seriously". The should rewrite their documents to read "When you complain of bullying, senior management will lie to you in order to try to cover up the bullying. Then we will accuse you of being the bully before we sack you without any investigation."

As part of the role evaluation process, Kathy McCabe had to check and sign the role description for each role in her team. One of the roles, System Assistant, was occupied by three women. The description states that it takes five years to gain the Oracle skills required for the role. That is completely false, and represents serious fraud. I would estimate that it would take less than a month for an employee to gain the Oracle skills required for the work that they carry out. Indeed, as a student on my placement year, I had learned those skills to a much higher level within a month; as did the students before and after me. Kathy confirmed that, with no prior Oracle knowledge, she designed and wrote a full application within her first six months at the university. The Oracle skills for writing an application require far more than required by a System Assistant.

In addition, Selina Gibb had occupied the role for more than five years with absolutely no Oracle skills. So on that basis, every employee at the university could legitimately claim that it takes five years to gain the Oracle skills required for their role; including Gardeners, Cleaners, and the Principal.

One of Mark Toole's alleged reasons for dismissing me was that I didn't agree with the university's database security policy. This was another extraordinary reason, because I definitely agreed with the university's database policy; indeed it was me who introduced it, in my capacity of Database Administrator. However, according to Mark, I didn't even know what the security policy was. Apparently he knows of a policy that existed before he joined the university that gave permission for all and sundry to connect to databases as the base table owner, despite the only policy that I was aware of, and the one that I was required to confirm to external auditors that we were working to. It would appear that Mark expected me to lie to the auditors by confirming that the university was complying with the real policy while, in reality, we were complying with his imaginary policy.

Mark Toole, just like his predecessor, Peter Kemp, is full of shit. Lying comes too easily him, and that's how he has ended up with himself in knots. It appears that he now agrees with the security policy I introduced, because employees no longer have access to the passwords for base table owners, and they haven't had access to them since before I was sacked. So if my policy was so wrong, why hasn't he changed it?

The reason he is in knots is because, just like Peter Kemp, he is unwilling to deal with the real problem; Eileen MacDonald, who was the person who actually didn't agree with the real policy, and picked and chose what policies she would work to.

One of the many lies told by Eileen MacDonald under oath was that Kathy McCabe had asked me to produce regular reports that would list examples of data errors in the Student Records database so that staff  in the relevant departments could use it to correct the bad data. Not only was this a lie, but it also clearly demonstrates how evil Eileen MacDonald really is.

I had been very much in favour of producing reports of bad data because, as a conscientious Database Administrator, I wanted a clean database for my users. Although I didn't know it at the time, it seems that Eileen had been instrumental in causing that data to become bad in the first place by allowing large numbers of staff to insert data into the Student Records system by a quick method, which although might have seemed a fantastic idea to those staff, was actually a horrendously bad idea, and one that, in any normal organisation, a Database Administrator  responsible for the integrity of the data, would have been consulted upon before allowing non validated data to enter the database. 

Eileen had deliberately hidden this horrendously bad idea from me, because when Jackie O'Neil alerted me to it, she challenged Jackie by asking her "Why did you have to go and tell him?"

Having made herself the darling of the users by allowing them to insert data so much more quickly, Eileen had probably been making me out as the person responsible for allowing bad data into the database, even though I had known nothing about it.

I met with Eileen and Kathy. I strongly recommended that we stop allowing further bad data to enter the database. It's hardly a good reason to have shit in your database just because you can enter that shit very quickly. You don't see many systems being advertised on the basis that that they allow shit to be entered very quickly into their database. There's a term that I'm sure most people are aware of: "Garbage in, garbage out!" What that means is that if you allow shit or garbage into your database, then any decisions based on that data will be shit or garbage too. One of the most important reasons for having data in a database is to allow you to make decisions based on that data. In that respect, University of Stirling is a wholly unprofessional organisation.

At that meeting, I also strongly recommended that we take steps to clean up that data, but they both rejected my recommendation. I suspect it was because the users may have wondered why Eileen had allowed the quick means of entering bad data when she should have known that it was going to take a lot of time to clean it up to make it useful.

There are witnesses to the fact that I was strongly in favour of producing regular reports on bad data. I had discussed it with David Black and Paul Scott who both agreed with me. However, the best witness of all is Lynn McDonald who agreed with me so strongly that she encouraged Kathy to allow me to do it. Kathy refused. She thought it would seem like we were telling the users that they had made mistakes.

Lynn McDonald then provided support to Eileen after I lodged a grievance against her. She may not, at that time, have known what a liar Eileen is, but she certainly knows now.

Nobody in their wildest dreams could ever have imagined that Lynn McDonald would ever be a bully or a supporter of bullies. It just wasn't in her make-up. In a way, Lynn is even more disappointing than the more direct bullies. To stand by and watch what has happened to me and do nothing is possibly worse than the direct bullies. It is the bystanders who do nothing, or who unwittingly or deliberately support the bullies that ensure bullying continues. They are no better than the bullies. They conform to a bullying and scapegoating culture.

Another lie, that I even thought might have been true at the tribunal, came from Eric Hall. He stated that Selina Gibb had informed him about her (completely false) account of me going wild and red and spitting on her desk in anger, etc.  He added that he was so concerned that he informed Kathy McCabe about it. Well, Kathy denied several times that Eric had ever told her anything about Selina saying this. I now believe Eric had made this up to support Selina. Pathetic! Eric would say anything to help him keep his job.

To be continued...

False claims of bullying in retaliation to genuine allegations of bullying

It is known that bullies, once accused by their target of bullying, will then make a malicious claim that it is they who are the target and that the real target is the bully. That is the case of Kathy McCabe.

However, a responsible employer will be wise to this tactic and carry out a thorough investigation. Stirling University is not a responsible employer. It is the complete opposite of a responsible employer. It went further, and upheld Kathy McCabe's malicious complaints and ignored my own allegations. They seem to think that that is somehow clever. Far from it! It stinks!

To add insult to injury, Mark Toole dismissed me, claiming that not only did I bully my manager (as if), I also bullied my colleagues, or at least the female ones. He goes on to say that their gender was my motivation for bullying them.

In my letter of dismissal, he gives an example of me bullying women on the basis of their gender. It happened before he even joined the university, and I had never been spoken to about it. I raised a grievance against my colleague, Eileen MacDonald, who was due to go off on maternity leave a few weeks later. He claims that I deliberately timed it to maximise her distress while on maternity leave.

I had notified his predecessor, Peter Kemp that I wished to raise a formal grievance against her. That was more than two months before her maternity leave. He asked me to write back with the details of my grievance, and I did. I sent them to Peter Kemp, but not to Eileen MacDonald. It was Peter who informed Eileen of the grievance; not me. Then he decided not to process my grievance, which makes me wonder why he bothered to tell her about it.

In court, I asked Mark Toole what would have been an acceptable length of time to raise a grievance against a woman who may be about to go on maternity leave. He refused to specify a length of time.

This has to be sex discrimination, in my view, because it can only apply to women. And he is not saying that it was ordinary bullying, but bullying specifically based on gender. And since he refuses to state the period of "grace" that a woman should be allowed, it may not ever be permissible, in his mind, for a man to raise a grievance against a woman.

Not only that, Mark also considers that by raising that grievance, I contributed the main part in the alleged breakdown in our working relationship. So regardless of her maternity leave, it was still part of his reason for dismissing me. He does not dispute that the content of my grievance was genuine, so basically what he is saying is that you can be sacked for raising a genuine grievance. Nowhere in Stirling University's Grievance Procedure will you find reference to this extraordinary information.

My grievance against Eileen was never processed. Instead, Eileen was invited to complain about me without any risk of her complaints being investigated.

I asked Human Resources Director, Martin McCrindle, about the disciplinary process used by Mark Toole. If an employee had made a malicious complaint against me, at what point in the process would that have been discovered? He said that it would have been discovered by Mark Toole's judgement. He didn't think it would have been necessary for any of the complaints to be investigated.

Basically, employees at the university have no rights whatsoever. All it takes is for someone to make a false allegation against you, and no matter whether or not you can prove that it is false, you can be sacked for it.

And as in my own case, where management were anxious to get rid of me, they can actively encourage those false allegations from colleagues with a grudge.


Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act

The author of a recent message I posted referred to the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act. Here is the FAQ about the act.

Under this act, I cannot find any evidence that employers who receive a grievance about bullying that has already caused a period of stress related absence, are advised that senior management should lie in order to cover up that bullying, rather than act to remove the source of bullying. My view is that to act in that way, senior management may be guilty of gross negligence.

Where can I find the Act and any guidance?

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

When did the new Act come into force?

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act was given Royal assent on 26 July 2007. The offence came into force on 6 April 2008 and is called corporate manslaughter in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and corporate homicide in Scotland.

Provisions in the Act which relate to publicity orders (see section 10 of the Act ) will commence when sentencing guidelines are published. It is anticipated that this will be by Summer 2009.

Provisions in the Act which relate to the management of custody (see sections 2(1)(d) and 2(2) of the Act ) will also come into force at a later stage. It is expected that the implementation period will be between 3-5 years.

Are there any new duties or obligations under the Act?

There are no new duties or obligations under the Act, nor is the new offence part of health and safety law. It is, however, specifically linked to existing health and safety requirements.

What do companies and organisations need to do to comply?

Companies and organisations that take their obligations under health and safety law seriously are not likely to be in breach of the new provisions. Nonetheless, companies and organisations should keep their health and safety management systems under review, in particular, the way in which their activities are managed or organised by senior management.

Where does health and safety legislation come in?

Under the Act, health and safety legislation means "any statutory provision dealing with health and safety matters" so it will include transport (road, rail, river, sea, air) food safety and workplace safety as enforced by HSE and local authorities.

Juries will be required to consider breaches of health and safety legislation in determining liability of companies and other corporate bodies for corporate manslaughter/homicide. Juries may also consider whether a company or organisation has taken account of any appropriate health and safety guidance and the extent to which the evidence shows that there were attitudes, policies, systems or accepted practices within the organisation that were likely to have encouraged any such serious management failure or have produced tolerance of it.

Who will investigate and prosecute under the new offence?

The police will investigate suspected cases of corporate manslaughter/homicide. Prosecution decisions will be made by the Crown Prosecution Service (England and Wales), the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Scotland) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (Northern Ireland).

What is the role of health and safety regulators like HSE, local authorities etc?

As now, there will be a joint approach to work-related deaths between all the relevant regulatory authorities in line with the principles of the Work Related Deaths Protocol.

Will directors, board members or other individuals be prosecuted?

The offence is concerned with corporate liability and does not apply to directors or other individuals who have a senior role in the company or organisation. However, existing health and safety offences and gross negligence manslaughter will continue to apply to individuals. Prosecutions against individuals will continue to be taken where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.

Is there any advice or guidance for directors or board members on what they should be doing and what their responsibilities are under health and safety legislation?

In conjunction with the Institute of Directors, HSE has published guidance for directors on their responsibilities for health and safety - 'Leading health and safety at work: leadership actions for directors and board members’ (INDG417) [450KB] . The guidance sets out good practice for directors, addressing them in language and style they will find authoritative and convincing, informing Boards and their members in the public, private and third sectors, as to how to provide leadership in health and safety so as to help their organisation meet its legal obligations as an employer under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and gain the business benefits arising from effective, sensible health and safety management.

It should be borne in mind that HSE is only one of the health and safety regulators that might produce relevant health and safety guidance. Organisations and companies can also seek guidance from any regulators in their own industry or sector.

What penalties will a company or organisation face?

Penalties will include unlimited fines, remedial orders and publicity orders. A remedial order will require a company or organisation to take steps to remedy any management failure that led to a death. The court can also impose an order requiring the company or organisation to publicise that it has been convicted of the offence, giving the details, the amount of any fine imposed and the terms of any remedial order made. The publicity order provisions will not come into force until the Sentencing Guidelines Council has completed its work on the relevant guidance.

From here


Westhues's Checklist Of Mobbing Indicators

Westhues devised the following list of mobbing indicators, with indicator number 12 probably being the most important:

By standard criteria of job performance, the target is at least average, probably above average.

Rumours and gossip circulate about the target’s misdeeds: “Did you hear what she did last week?”

The target is not invited to meetings or voted onto committees, is excluded or excludes self.

Collective focus on a critical incident that “shows what kind of man he really is”.

Shared conviction that the target needs some kind of formal punishment, “to be taught a lesson”.

Unusual timing of the decision to punish, e. g., apart from the annual performance review.

Emotion-laden, defamatory rhetoric about the target in oral and written communications.

Formal expressions of collective negative sentiment toward the target, e. g. a vote of censure, signatures on a petition, meeting to discuss what to do about the target.

High value on secrecy, confidentiality, and collegial solidarity among the mobbers.

Loss of diversity of argument, so that it becomes dangerous to “speak up for” or defend the target.

The adding up of the target’s real or imagined venial sins to make a mortal sin that cries for action.

The target is seen as personally abhorrent, with no redeeming qualities; stigmatizing, exclusionary labels are applied.

Disregard of established procedures, as mobbers take matters into their own hands.

Resistance to independent, outside review of sanctions imposed on the target.

Outraged response to any appeals for outside help the target may make.

Mobbers’ fear of violence from target, target’s fear of violence from mobbers, or both.



Message From Another Bullying Victim

This is a message I received recently from someone who knows what I'm going through, because she has been through it herself. There are very striking similarities in our experiences.

I had a stress breakdown as I couldn't cope with the bullying any longer. I felt there was no support from colleagues or from managers. In fact the bullying had spread from one principal bully to several others. I have found out subsequently that this is quite common. At some level everyone knows bullying is going on. I have observed that there is usually a principal bully who is often joined by others, and who, if they are skilful enough can get the others to do the dirty work while they themselves appear to stay clean. Some people side with the bully because they are inherently bullies themselves, and enjoy the sense of power they have. Others side with the bully because they hope they will be safe, so they act from fear of being the next victim. Others keep their heads down and choose to view the situation as a personality clash so they don't need to do anything about it. They are terrified they might become a victim if they speak out. Most avoid the victim. In a strange way everyone is a victim of the bully and bullying can only exist where there is poor management. It's a bit like when harassed parents keep giving in to toddler tantrums and eventually create a monster.

I was off with stress for over 7 months during which time I took out a grievance against the principal bully which was upheld. Although my grievance was upheld, I found after I got back to work that the macho bullying culture had hardened. I think it is a pack animal instinctive thing to go for someone who is weak or wounded. It even spread to some of the students, part, I think, of the subliminal pack animal thing. I felt I was being watched all the time to see if I would slip up so they could 'get' me and the stress was intolerable. I'm sure some of it was self-imposed. I knew if I went off ill without completing my semester's teaching I probably wouldn't make it back again. I didn't want to live with being a failure.

The institution did make attempts to put support in place but no-one realised just how much support someone in my situation would need - much better to not let it get so bad in the first place by ensuring that managers are properly trained. I didn't know who, if anyone, I could trust in the department so I tended to keep to myself. I was in a PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder state) and I couldn't cope with large numbers of people or a lot of noise so avoided the coffee room. I self harmed for a long time to cope with the pressures of being back, and eventually close to the end of semester I showed someone. I had discussed self-harming with my counsellor who told me there are two types of wound - one is a slashing kind of action, expressing anger and rage. The other is much more precise and controlled, just deep enough to release some endorphins after the initial pain. That kind of self harm represented despair. I was doing the second kind.

Occupational Health advised me to get signed off but I knew if I didn't complete that semester's teaching I would probaly never make it back. I did manage to find black humour in some of the situations I found myself in, like thinking about what method I might use to attempt suicide and my reasons for rejecting it - I didn't have the energy to go and fetch a knife, and it probably wasn't sharp enough anyway as I never
sharpened them, or I might damage the tree or the lorry I considered driving my car into, or if not successful I might be a vegetable for the rest of my life and my young family didn't like veg! I even had my counsellor in stitches on several occasions as we discussed some of this stuff which gave me a glimmer of hope for an alternative career.

The institution responded to the self harm and the suicidal thoughts by wanting me to be assessed by a psychiatrist. Were they just covering themselves, to show they were
being proactive or were they trying to get me on some kind of mental health retirement thing? I never worked that one out but whichever it was became irrelevant as my counsellor wrote refuting my need to be assessed by a psychiatrist as the counsellor had judged me to be 'normal' in an abnormal situation.

This all happened years ago so obviously I survived to tell the tale but for several years I was hypervigilant and could not react well to stress. Repairing battered self confidence and self esteem takes much longer and some vicitms of bullying are so damaged they never fully recover, never become fully functional again. Some are so damaged it can be years before they work again, if at all.

Allan is braver than I was in starting a blog and being so open. Although it happened years ago, I've asked him not to identify the institution where I worked and I salute his bravery.

The saddest thing about bullying is that it is people who are good at their job, or popular with students, or colleagues, or customers, who are targetted by people who are trying to distract from their own inadequacies - poor consolation though if your self confidence and self esteem have been destroyed.

Victims of bullying are generally high achieving, self motivated, empathic, trusting and a bit naive while bullies are generally inadequate, insecure, promoted beyond their capabilites and lacking empathy. In extreme cases they can be sociopaths incapable of putting themselves in other people's shoes and reckless of the consequences of their actions.

I got very interested in the topic of corporate manslaughter (corporate homicide in Scotland)- a way of making top management take responsibility if people have fatal accidents due to a failure to observe proper health and safety guidelines concerning the requirement to provide a safe working environment, which I believe covers
psychological safety as well as physical safety. So if someone had a fatal accident or committed suicide because of overwork and stress, or because of unchecked bullying the organisation could be found to be liable.