08Bullying Liverpool City Council

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Vicky
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Joined: 7-11-08
Dec 23 2008 13:39

Hi

Thanks for you kind words. My tribunal is not until May I have been allocated 9 days of the tribunal time. I just think no matter what anyone's political affiliations are no one deserves to be bullied. People work to try and earn an honest wage without having to work in oppressive environments. If anyone is experiencing any form of bullying contact the Adams Trust Helpline: 01273 704 900 http://www.andreaadamstrust.org/

This website is very helpful: http://www.bullyeq.com/

asn
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Joined: 2-01-07
Dec 24 2008 10:02

I would like to give an example of how a case of workplace harassment and bullying was successfully handled - it had nothing to do with petitions to govts - in the mid 1990's a worker at a bus depot in Sydney wrote in to our transport paper exposing the harassment of various workers there by the admin officer and the operations manager who was the son in law of the then general manager - these bosses became "quite excited" about this article - subsequently the union rep there was rung up by another regular reader of the paper - the general manager who was also "quite interested" in the article - and sought the union rep's views on the situation - subsequently -the admin officer and operations manager were transferred from the workplace and so the harassment there was stopped.
This is also a good example of anarcho-syndicalist industrial activity - workers using the paper to help themselves out on the job encouraging their own self activity in contrast to say "Coffee break" where you have leftists commenting on everything going on the industrial front - also the paper had come out for many years on regular basis in the relevant industry not just when some "big thing" was happening, distributed to the specific industry "not just to any one" say leaving stations and was launched on the basis of a study of historical precedents, industrial experience and limited numbers/resources and its strategic importance re launching strike waves and countering the employer offensive . Of course for the workers there - the above harassment they were facing was to them "a very big thing".

asn
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Joined: 2-01-07
Dec 25 2008 09:13

correction "Coffee break" should read "Tea Break"

James Bond
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Joined: 5-12-08
Dec 29 2008 10:23

Hi thanks for the websites Vicky. I agree with you that workers have the right to be bully free and I personally do not think this is rocket science, nobody deserves to be bullied. I saw a letter in the local paper from Chief Exec of Liverpool City Council saying how seriously he takes bullying and that any one can contact him on this matter. I find this interesting as I have heard about people who have contacted him but just been bullied even more...
9 days at an employment tribunal seems like a long time and I will certainly look out for it - I would like to come at some point but feel that would only make me even more vulnerable to even more bullying.

I wish you good luck for the New Year by the way I admire the systematic way in which you have approached Councils for their constructive dismissal stats with the Whatdotheyknow website.

Vicky
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Joined: 7-11-08
Jan 5 2009 18:47

Hi James

Thanks for your kind words of support. (And a Happy New Year to everyone) I think people may find these sites helpful:

http://etclaims.co.uk/

http://www.connectuk.org/ForceDownload.asp?id=5417

This is a free course which you may find helpful :
http://www.skillsoft.com/bullying

The effects of bullying can sneak up on you...

You — apparently working safely and content.

First effects of bullying begin to appear.

You may notice some incidents at work: probably nothing major, no big scenes, just 'stuff' that happens.

The effects of bullying start to impact health.

You may begin to notice some health problems, unlike you, not ones you have experienced before. Sleep disturbance is often an early one. A change in your eating habits may happen - either eating more or less or differently. It is the change, not the behaviour itself that is important, relevant and profound.

The bullying escalates.

The 'incidents' at work may either intensify (be more powerful and 'upfront') or multiply (be more numerous).

Perceptions of co-workers are skewed by bully.

As the behaviour continues co-workers may begin to alter the way they relate to you. Some formerly close may begin to withdraw (they are afraid of being guilty by association - they have picked up that you are somehow to be treated differently.)

Effects of bullying cause stress and depression.

Your health problems may become more intrusive.
(See Stress Symptoms and Depression Symptoms.)

Physical problems - especially the lack of a good night's sleep - will begin to cause emotional problems. How chatty and friendly will you feel with only 3 hours sleep a night!

Once again it is the change more than the condition itself which suggests an increasingly unhealthy situation.

Effects of bullying take toll on health.

As your physical and emotional health deteriorates some of what you have been falsely accused of doing (or not doing) at work may become almost accurate. You may become forgetful, clumsy, short tempered, over emotional and near to tears.

The 'team player' (awful phrase) will want less and less to do with anyone. The quieter, more introverted employee will become almost totally isolated.

Again it is the change more than the condition itself which suggest an increasingly unhealthy situation.

Pieces of the puzzle come together.

Discovering the connection: this is the crucial moment. You will connect the very odd and complex range of mental and physical health problems with your similarly odd and complex workplace. This revelation may come from reading an article, or seeing a list of behaviours and symptoms of workplace bullying on a website.

This moment will be both a shock and a relief. Yes you are a bit 'nuts' and this is why and this is normal.

Understanding the effects of bullying.

Research and information obsession. Having made the link and named your situation as 'workplace bullying' or 'mobbing' you will likely devour many articles, books and pursue websites and the links they offer for several weeks.

This stage of informing yourself is important but can become compulsive and obsessive. The reassurance you get that you are not alone in your feelings or experience is excellent; the 'horribilizing' is not.

Justice and logic take a holiday.

Your innate sense of justice, fairplay and right and wrong will be hugely over-stimulated.

I was right; this is wrong; I must be 'heard'; logic will be restored and then I and my injured workplace will be healed and restored.

However, in 99% of cases justice and logic will continue to be abandoned by your co-workers and management.

Effects of bullying not understood by professionals.

This is when you will invest great amounts of time and energy and hope in official bodies and professionals.

Of all these supposed sources of succour only one or two will probably truly hear you...
Someone said they
heard about a case...

Senior Management

Human Resources

Charter Rights

Workers Compensation Board

Your Union

A Lawyer

Your Doctor

Your Psychologist or Therapist

Injury worsens due to effects of bullying.

Now you are an injured worker, dealing with maybe 5 agencies who you believe can solve your situation.

You may still be having to go to work and the continuing bullying that entails, or you may be on 'stress' leave, sick leave or some differently titled absence from work.

None of these places is one of safety or healing reflection.

Effects of bullying cost you and the employer.

With luck and support you will come to realize that true resolution involving your continued employment is not possible and your energies should best be focussed on the cleanest way of leaving the abusive workplace. If you need a union or a lawyer to work on this that is one area they can help you with.

You will need time (and time = money) and access to health resources - psychologists, etc.

Healing from the effects of bullying takes time.

You leave the abusive workplace.

You think you should find a new job as quickly as possible.

You are probably in no state to search for a new position.

You need time to heal.

Give yourself the time you need to recover.

The time you need to heal sufficiently to think of returning to work will depend on how long you were bullied, how intense it was, how early you make the connection, your support and how you have dealt with change before.

Putting effects of bullying behind you may be difficult.

Returning to work.

The first few weeks in any new job are always difficult - you know you should be doing something but half the time you have no idea what, you want to impress but not appear too desperate to please, you want to be friendly not 'gushy'.

As a former target of workplace bullying you may have intrusive flashbacks. A certain look, a call to an impromptu meeting, a clumsy exchange with a new co-worker or a rookie's misunderstanding may all cause worry or panic.

Time is the only healer.

Being your own true principled and high performing self is the only way to move forward.

Not only is this revealing your best qualities but also if there should be a bully on board at your new workplace, these qualities will be the ones they hate and wish to destroy.

Better they are provoked into showing their colours to you early, rather than you discovering that this is another bullying workplace in months or years time.

But, with the knowledge, tools and precautions to spot an abusive workplace before you join one, you are unlikely to be faced with this situation and what is required is time to learn to trust again.

Moving forward...

Will you ever recover from the effects of bullying?
Will you ever be the same again, back to your usual self?

Mainly, thankfully, no.

Firstly, if you have a broken leg you may regain full mobility, but once every now and again a damp day or a cold day or a certain movement will give you a dull ache or a twinge. This is also true with the effects of workplace bullying.

Secondly, you will have a far deeper and useful self-knowledge than ever before. You may truly know that 'alone time' is crucial for your health, or a gregarious romp is necessary for your happiness.

You will be determined to seek out whatever it is you have learned you need.

Enjoy your newly discovered or
rediscovered self awareness;
you have earned it

Hope this helps

Vicky

susanbjennings
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Joined: 31-01-09
Jan 31 2009 16:45

Hello Vicky,

I hope you are still logging in to see if there are further comments on this thread.

I too work at LCC and have experienced bullying.

I sense that some of the contributors who have posted on this thread are (perhaps?) less than sympathetic, as they (may?) believe that if you had a real grievance, your fellow workers - many of whom are probably union members - would not stand by and let you be bullied, and would unite to support you, until your grievance was heard and addressed fairly.

I'm afraid the reality is very different. Many other council employees are fearful for their own well-being and tend to want 'anything for a quiet life'. They feel that if they stick their heads above the parapet, their cards will be forever marked...- they're right.

Others have 'bought in' to the common ideology that exists in organisations such as this: 'running with the hare and hunting with the hound', or jockeying for position in the 'pecking order', waiting for that assistant team-leader post to become available, knowing that 'equal opportunities' is a phrase much bandied, but rarely adhered to...

Which leaves you out there on your own and I'm extremley sorry about that - I say that not in a pitying, patronising way, but in the spirit of empathy.

I have seen at close quarters what happens to people who fall foul of the bullying managers in LCC - and the vehemence and savagery with which they were swiftly dealt with and eliminated was breathtaking to behold.

Forget the unions - a complete waste of time (and not just UNISON).

I have decided that the only thing to do is to get out as fast as I can - no mean feat when the coup de grace from the bullying manager (who presumably doesn't like me and doesn't want me working for them) is to either give me a bad reference, or no reference at all!

Illogical, but perhaps giving someone you dislike a life of hell every day is preferable to letting them get away and have a peaceful, contented existence elsewhere?

I am currently trying to get to see the personal information held on me by the personnel department - just to check it isn't paranoia - another accusation often thrown at those who are bullied. And I don't hold much hope of an early resolution - I've been told that even a union rep had to take the authority to court before the relevant documents appeared.

If you are willing to post the address of your legal representative on this thread, I would like to make a donation to your legal fees. Unfortunately, this will be very small, in light of my own personal situation. But I sometimes feel the adage 'Every little helps' can prove true.

If everyone who visits this site were to contribute - who knows? 'David' might beat 'Goliath'!

I'm of the opinion (especially from witnessing recent events at close quarters) that bullies 'get away with it' because they are backed by the people at the top, plus huge amounts of (in this case, council) money.

And I believe that the legal framework in Britain helps perpetuate this inequity, by making it impossible for people to get legal aid to pay for 'expert' professional advice in employment disputes.

So good luck Vicky. I wish everyone (including me!) had the strength and tenacity to take this and every other council to task. If it happened on a regular basis, authorities such as Liverpool would have to put more than £100,000 to one side to fight tribunals (as they had to when teachers started fighting back). And only then might 'questions be asked in the house'...

All the best, SJB

Vicky
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Joined: 7-11-08
Feb 5 2009 14:40

Hi SJB

I am so sorry to hear that your going through a rough time. It's harder to get a job now with the recession. Thanks a lot for being so nice. Everything you say is so true. I can't go into detail what happened to me. But one thing I will say be true to yourself. At one point I was alone and a gibbering wreck. I knew I had to stand up for my rights you could not get any lower in the pecking order than me...my grade 2/3...lol I was promised a regrading to 4/5... . Which was then changed to a 3/4 on condition the bully would be my line manager, told them politely no thanks. Am not a yes person or a creep. Nor am I a trouble maker. I just wanted to get on with my job that I was paid to do. Which was made extremely difficult and when I complained my life was made a living hell. I challanged a system which allowed bullying to thrive. I worked in a legal department I was studying for a diploma in law which it was implied that the council would pay for and then they decided against it. Despite the fact the knowledge that I learnt at night school I used on a daily basis in work. After I left part of my job went to legal services and an agency worker was recruited. Also another section assisted in part of my work. So three people are doing one job that I was paid buttons for doing... I would point out the council take on staff send them on expensive courses and the staff then move on to the private sector. As tax payers everyones paying for this.

That's what drove me to continue to fight for justice so no one else would ever have to go through what I went through. My legal advocate is Scott he is brilliant...based in Scotland. His contact details are: Scott Johnston Johnston Consulting Employment Law & Personal Development www.Johnston-Consulting.com www.Personally-Proactive.com Tel 0141 632 1211 Fax 0141 649 1709.

Thanks a lot for your help and support.

Vicky

Vicky
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Joined: 7-11-08
Mar 4 2009 20:41

Hi Everyone

Hope you are all OK. I have started a new petition for bullying if anyone would like to sign it would be good. Bullying is endemic if all firms have to produce an annual report maybe they will start to implement bullying policies. I know Bullying will always go on. Maybe it will make companies accountable for the actions of their staff and realise that bullying does ruin peoples lives. It's called 09Bullying (Orginal I know..lol). http://tinyurl.com/dgepp5 When you complete the petition - it will email you a link which you have to click to actually have your name added to the list. Please do remember to check your spam folder if your email doesn't appear and make sure your name is on the list!

Don't forget if you live in the USA to sign Mary's petition. http://tinyurl.com/66ft8d

Thanks

Vicky

RO
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Joined: 11-03-09
Mar 11 2009 12:54

Hi you might also want to consider

http://www.EmploymentTribunalRepresentation.co.uk or http://www.modavis.co.ukwww.Modavis.co.uk. Who provide Employment Tribunal training sessions. I hope this info is helpful.

Good luck in May.

R

Vicky
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Joined: 7-11-08
Aug 13 2009 19:36

Hi Everyone

People have been asking me what happened over my tribunal and what happened to me. The tribunal was not upheld. This what happened to me, which the Tribunal decided not to believe I have signed no compromise agreement. I can discuss what happened to me. The council did offer me £15,000 to settle out of court. Which I declined. The tribunal were slightly critical over the council over certain points. The council came mob handed every day, I asked for separate bathroom break as I felt intimidated by the staff. I actually torn my ligaments rushing to the bathroom and ended up on crutches. I don't regret going to tribunal and I told the truth my conscious is clear. This was the statement that I use in the Tribunal. I won't be appealing as it is my word against theirs...and am skint.

In the Liverpool Employment Tribunal
Re: Ms V Gray v Liverpool City Council
Case number 2102709/2008 and 2104673/2008

Witness statement of Vicky Gray, Claimant

I, Vicky Gray, make the following statement which is true to the best of my knowledge information and belief.

1. I became employed with the Council in the late 1980’s, I can’t remember the exact date but it was about 1987. I commenced employment as a Care Assistant.

2. In August 2002 I was re-deployed due to ill health and commenced working as a scale 1/2 Finance/Administration Assistant in Exchequer Management Services, based at Kingsway House Hatton Garden Liverpool. As my background became a source of one of my complaints later, I refer to my letter of appointment, job description and person specification see page 39C 1-5.

3. On 2nd February 2004 I took up the position of Assistant Business Support Officer in the Department of Environmental Health & Trading Standards. This was another administrative post. It was a promotion to a scale 2/3. In late 2006 an issue arose about to whom I reported and what my work actually entailed. As this ultimately led to these proceedings I will give some details about my appointment in 2004.

4. I was interviewed for this position of Business Support by Allan Auty, the Enforcement Co-ordinator, and Trevor Samuels, Principal Business Support Officer. This was for a post in the enforcement function in the Trading Standards and Environmental Health Department. Allan and Trevor informed me that the position entailed working directly for the Enforcement Co-ordinator. The contract I received stated I worked for the Enforcement Co-ordinator see 323-324. When I started working with Trading Standards, we were based in Kingsway House. The Environmental Health Officers (EHO) were located at the front of the office along with Business Support. In February 2006 we all relocated to offices in Brougham Terrace.

5. At Kingsway House I was located with the staff from Trading Standards and Consumer Advice. There were spare seats in Business Support. Had I been classed as part of this team then I would have been located there. I was informed that for booking annual leave I would consult with Allan Auty, I would then pass on to Business Support for administration purposes. Trevor Samuels would manage my PRD’s and occasionally I may be asked to provide administrative support, which never occurred when Trevor was my line manager. I had a good working relationship with Trevor. Ann Gill then took over from Trevor.

6. In Kingsway House I was situated next to Don Smith, Head of Consumer Advice. The Enforcement Co-ordinator and Trading Standards Officers were within close proximity. I answered the phones of Trading Standards and Consumer Advice officers, as my job entailed working in this area. I was not answering phones for EHO’s. Don Smith has prepared a witness statement confirming that I answered the phones see p85.

7. From around early 2005, I began to get involved in preparing Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN’s), in respect of littering and dog fouling. Such notices are legal documents and had to be 100% correct otherwise they would be invalid. There was a six-month deadline. This was in addition to my existing work. I had an excellent working relationship with Allan Auty, Enforcement Co-ordinator, I was always there to remind him of certain deadlines; I made sure Allan kept to them. I considered Allan to be my friend as well as my colleague/manager.

8. I implemented the new administrative arrangements for the FPN’s. I issued the Fixed Penalties to businesses and also to members of the public when I received a statement from Allan (he would give me the statements). I would check the statements for errors and verify that the address matched the name, as frequently false names or address were given. If the statements were correct, I would input the FPN and pass it to the Enforcement Co ordinator for signature. I would then process the FPN through a database, giving a time limit of 21 days for payment. This entailed working closely with the Enforcement Co ordinator and it was very helpful to be in close proximity to him.

9. I’d receive calls from people who did not wish to pay; occasionally they were abusive. If they required extra time to pay I would ensure, within reason, that extra time was given stating that if the perpetrator was late paying, the FPN would be sent directly to prosecution. If a member of the public was late paying, I would refer the case to legal services for prosecution. I would usually have no further involvement but did occasionally go to court to help the Enforcement Co ordinator.

10. If I had any queries I discussed them with the Enforcement Co ordinator, who was my Line Manager, or Don Smith or other Trading Standards (TS) Officers. I would not ask Trevor or Ann Gill in Business Support as they did not know anything about FPN’s, Service Requests (SRU) or Consumer Advice Complaints (CMU) and were not managing my work, only my holiday and sickness absence.

11. I also did the admin for the Enforcement Forum – booking rooms, circulating papers and taking the minutes. It was chaired by the Head of Service (Andy Hull). Allan Auty (Enforcement Co-ordinator) would approve the minutes before they were distributed. The information required was on a database, about which Council officers frequently asked for statistics. The statistics for Fixed Penalties were of political interest. My involvement in the Enforcement Forum stopped in early 2006 when a new Chair took over.

12. When we were at Kingsway House, I was responsible for the library, updating periodicals and legal volumes. I usually did that in the mornings about 7.30am and until 9am. I inputted the periodicals onto a spreadsheet, for payment reasons, also to keep up to date. This also applied with the legal volumes. I stopped working in the library when we moved to Brougham Terrace. I also spent more time on the Fixed Penalties as they were increasing, due to an increase in wardens.

13. At the start of 2005 a position became vacant in Business Support scale 3/4; I had applied for this position and was going to attend the interview see p329-330. Allan Auty persuaded me not to attend; he stated that he would support me on a re-grading 4/5 in my current post. As I was not part of the Business Support team I was glad to stay with the Enforcement Co ordinator.

14. As I had not heard anything over the re-grading I emailed Human Resources to see what had happened. In December 2005 Allan Auty informed me that the re grading was now going to be a scale 3/4 and that another colleague – Beccy – was also to be included. He informed me that it would take effect after the forthcoming move to Brougham Terrace. He also informed me that there was no room for me in the Trading Standards Room at Brougham Terrace as space was limited. Therefore, I was to be based in the room with Business Support. I was a bit disappointed but thought nothing more of it. The re-grading never happened.

15. At Kingsway House, I reported to Ann Gill after Trevor Samuels left, but only in terms of administrative issues, not in terms of any work issues. I had one PRD with Ann Gill. In the first half of 2005, Jacquie Whitfield (to whom I shall refer in this statement as ‘JW’) became the Line Manager for Business Support replacing Ann Gill and therefore became the manager I reported to for administrative issues. I felt nervous in the presence of JW, because of her actions and mannerisms. There was no reason for her to treat me the way she did, as my dealings with JW in 2005 were minimal and I always treated her with respect and courtesy.

16. In the summer of 2005 my relationship with JW became strained. In the absence of the Enforcement Co ordinator on holiday, Jacquie Whitfield instructed me to take on the responsibility of postal duties for Trading Standards. This included opening the mail and inputting the outgoing mail on to a database, which was time consuming. I objected as I was already coping with a heavy workload and other Business Support employees were available to deal with this postal work.

17. My job never entailed opening the Trading Standards post. I explained that with my heavy workload I did not have the time to do the post and I was finding it quite stressful. As it was already, I frequently worked from 7.30am to 6.30pm. These are long hours, especially compared to usual admin or Business Support staff hours. This would usually be if there were prosecution deadlines to be met.
18. When I queried the request from JW to do the post, she asked me to email what my work entailed, which I promptly did. JW told me to continue doing the post until Allan Auty returned from holiday. I told JW the workload was causing me stress but I did it. There were Business Support staff, available to do the post and the people whose position it was to deal with the Trading Standards post were available to do this, so I could not understand why I had to do it.

19. On Allan’s return from holiday I informed him of the situation and he emailed JW and told her any additional work from Business Support had to go directly through him. I stopped doing the post. JW was unhappy with this situation and I believe that she didn’t like the fact that I had challenged her and had ‘won’. I later came to believe that she wanted to get me back.

20. As a manger JW behaviour was over-bearing. I felt her response was that, as a manager, JW had control over me and I would do as JW said, because she was the manger. I felt extremely tired, depressed and found the whole situation stressful. I had so much Fixed Penalty work to do that I even cancelled a day off. Ann Gill said to me ‘what are you going to do when FPN’s increase’. It was a nasty snide comment, not supportive. She also wanted me to do the post at a later time and I said NO.

21. In February 2006, Environmental Health & Trading Standards relocated from the Kingsway offices to offices in Brougham Terrace. My Fixed Penalty workload increased throughout 2006.

22. At Brougham Terrace, I sat at the back of the office. There were about 12 of us, including JW and Ann Gill. As I explained earlier, Business Support staff had worked as a team before the move I did not feel that I was ‘part of the team’.

23. I was expected to answer the phones in Business Support. This included calls which were Environmental Health complaints, despite this being an office fully staffed with trained officers. The impact on my work was negative. I felt very uncomfortable trying to deal with Environmental Health queries when my knowledge of this subject was limited. I had not been trained in Environmental Health complaints. I informed JW of this. The situation had a detrimental effect on my health; it caused untold stress, upset and depression.

24. I told JW this but she didn’t seem to listen. I believe that she didn’t like this, as she felt like she was being challenged and of course I had already challenged her once. This was her chance to impose her authority on me and she did. She ignored my concerns. I raised my concerns with Allan Auty, explaining that I felt that my role had changed. I felt physically ill with the pressure.

25. Shortly after arrival at Brougham Terrace I asked for a filing cabinet to file the FPN’s, which had previously been stored in a filing cabinet but it was no longer available. As no filing cabinet was provided, the FPN’s were kept in my desk. As staff had to have access to the FPN’s, this meant I had no privacy. I had personal possessions and medication in my desk. I did keep the desk locked but it meant that my colleagues could not access the FPN’s, although sometimes I gave one colleague a key. JW did not ask for a key for my desk and I did not offer one to her as I was not comfortable with that.

26. We needed a filing cabinet as I was running out of space in my desk and felt that we needed a more formal filing system, especially as these were confidential, legal documents. JW didn’t agree. I don’t think she understood what my workload was and she didn’t like it when I repeatedly asked for a filing cabinet. This made our relationship worse.

27. Between February and April 2006 I frequently complained to JW and Allan Auty that I was required to answer telephone calls for Environmental Health and that this had a detrimental effect on my workload and meant I was to deal with issues about which I had no knowledge or experience. Nothing was ever done to resolve the situation, which caused me further distress and upset.

28. I became increasingly exhausted and anxious. I was off sick for 3 weeks from 6 19th March 2006. This happened in the first couple of months of being situated with Business Support. This was no coincidence.

29. The Council were aware that I was prone to depression. I had been absent from September 2003 to February 2004 with depression (due to something outside of work) and had taken antidepressants. This whole situation in 2006 was harassment by JW and a failure by the Council to discharge its duty of care to me.

30. When I returned to work on 20th March I found it increasingly difficult to cope. I was run down; I was exhausted with walking away from petty disputes. I never documented the disputes. It was all pertaining to the telephones. I felt exhausted, my workload was heavy and I was not being listened to. I felt as though I was constantly being undermined by JW’s actions. It was making me feel exhausted, depressed and so tired all the time; I felt emotionally drained. It was so bad that at one point I actually disconnected the phone, although I know I shouldn’t have. I ended up going off sick again from 17th April until 21st May.

31. On 21st May 2006 I returned from sick leave. I was normally an outgoing person but I had become much more introverted person. I was dreading going back to work but I enjoyed my job and I was good at it.

32. When I came back in May 2006 the situation actually became worse. The person who sat next to me – Danny – was off on long term sick; his phone was not put on divert and I was expected to deal with his calls. I tried to explain to JW that I had to work to deadlines. This would be most days, or so it seemed; it was a constant battle with JW. I frequently put Danny’s phone on divert to JW.

33. On the day I returned to work, I attended a return to work interview with JW. Immediately after that meeting concluded, JW called me to another meeting in the presence of Karen Tyrer. I was advised that Karen Tyrer was, with immediate effect, to be my new Line Manager. I was told that I was to have no dealings with Trading Standards work unless authorised by Ms Tyrer or JW and that all my work had to go through them.

34. Business Support had not been involved with my work with Trading Standards so I found this highly unlikely, as JW’s knowledge and understanding of my work was extremely limited. I was to go to Karen Tyrer and JW with any queries or concerns I had. I was just TOLD. JW did not believe in discussing work issues, I felt as though I was being bullied by JW’s actions and deeds. I said that I felt that I should discuss this with the Enforcement Co ordinator. JW instructed me not to.

35. JW said “No, you don’t understand. Everything goes through either Karen or myself”. I remained calm and polite and said that I would need to discuss this with Allan. I was told that I should not attend Trading Standards core brief meetings. This meeting was intimidating, as I was on my own. This was stressful and I felt very anxious – and of course this was my very first day back after being absent with stress and depression. I made a note of this meeting and refer to it see p39F.

36. I spoke to Allan Auty, against JW’s instructions. Allan did not agree with what I had been told. When I told Allan about not attending the Trading Standards Core Brief meetings Allan said “over my dead body” so I did continue to attend Core Brief meetings and continued to work through the Enforcement Co-ordinator. This added to my feelings that I was being harassed by JW. I never classed JW as my manager, in terms of monitoring my work, but Allan never challenged JW about interfering in my Trading Standards work.

37. Over time I continued to frequently express my concern to JW that I was required to provide advice to members of the public who telephoned to raise environmental health issues; and about how this meant taking time out from my already heavy workload with the increasing volume of FPN’s. It made no difference. I felt exhausted, depressed. There seemed to be no point in raising it again with Allan Auty.

38. There were a couple of meetings between Allan Auty, JW and Karen Tyrer to discuss the telephones issue. Afterwards, I was given conflicting instructions. On the one hand, Allan Auty said I was not required to answer the environmental health telephone calls if it would affect my work. But he also said that that all colleagues should be answering the telephone calls. That wasn’t clear at all and was actually unhelpful. JW continued to pressure me to answer the Environmental Health telephone calls for the absent colleague. I was asking for help and was not being listened to. A managerial response was required to implement changes into my working environment. There were physically not enough hours in the day to complete my workload.

39. Karen Tyrer didn’t fully understand my work. She was a former secretary, who worked for Emergency Planning, and had limited knowledge of the work of Trading Standards. Karen Tyrer introduced what she called a ‘Job sheet’ and a spreadsheet but they were pointless as the information was already available on a database (known as Flare).This just made the work more confusing and created scope for more errors.

40. To explain the work I did, I refer to a job application for the post of PA to the Interim Chief Executive see p39E1-11: it is undated but the closing date 23rd March 2006 so it would probably have been in March 2006. My work included occasional undercover work for Trading Standards. For example, I went to a sun bed salon (whilst the Trading Standards officer waited in the car). I also participated in other undercover work for Trading Standards, test purchasing fruit and meat. I also hired a sun bed in a covert operation.

41. Also, I arranged appointments and meeting rooms for Allan Auty; printed out certificates for PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) courses which Allan lectured on, arranged the bookings of the rooms, dealt with any queries concerning the course; I basically made sure everything went smoothly. I did a lot of photocopying for a case involving pornography as Allan trusted me to be discreet. Allan asked me to go to several banks and try and get a credit card for a hypothetical 15 year-old to see if children were able to find a way to pay for pornography online with their own credit card. It was rare for Business Support to do this kind of work.

42. Ann Gill also had no idea about the nature of my work. She thought all I did was the Fixed Penalties. I also did work for CMU complaints, Consumer Advice referrals to other Local Authority Service Requests, which meant inputting TS complaints on to the system. I also responded to other Local Authorities concerning complaints, e.g. database fraud, there was a standard letter which was sent out concerning various scams. I would track down a company’s registered address to help me deal with complaints from the public, input them into the system and pass on to the Trading Standards Team Leader for allocation.
43. I can’t remember when it was, unfortunately, but one day Karen Tyrer was choking on a sweet and was really struggling. I carried out the HEIMLICH manoeuvre (a first aid procedure like a bear hug from behind) and could see by the expression on her face that the object had been moved. A couple of minutes later JW entered the room. Karen was coughing but others said that she was choking. Thinking that Karen was still choking, JW said that Karen should go to the toilet and splash cold water on her face and that would help. If JW believed that Karen was choking, her advice was totally inappropriate. I really felt that JW should attend a basic first aid course, as next time with that advice – and without wishing to be too dramatic – someone could die. I was familiar with first aid as I had attended a Pre Nursing course in my youth and also from working as a Care Assistant. I’m sure that someone mentioned what I had done to help Karen and I although I can’t be sure I do strongly suspect that this might have made my relationship with JW worse – simply that I knew what to do and she didn’t. I know it sounds unlikely but that was the sort of thing that I believed JW would hold against me.
44. I don’t recall when this incident occurred but I did mention it to Paul Farrell after the grievance hearing on 8th November 2006 that I wanted to speak to him about a serious Health and Safety issue so it must have been before then. However, I was too upset after that hearing to discuss anything with Paul. I mentioned this matter in my grievance and appeal.
45. On 16th June 2006 Allan Auty sent an email to myself, JW and Karen Tyrer see p39G-1. He sent this as a result of me going to see him to explain that I did not believe that Business Support knew what my work involved and that I was concerned that it was not being done in my absence and that this was essential work which was being held up by me having to answer Environmental Health telephone calls.
46. I decided to keep a record of the calls I received. I do not have a copy but I think I provided a copy in subsequent grievance proceedings. Over a two day period, I think in September 2006, there were between 32-35 telephone calls per day lasting between 3-5 minutes each see p172. To understand the full impact of these calls, you have to take into account the time it takes to settle back into the work you have just been distracted from. So, this was easily taking up a couple of hours a day for me, often more.
47. On 4th July 2006 the situation became so unbearable I went in to the Trading Standards room and I was crying. Dave Horsefield and John McHale (Trading Standards managers) asked me what was wrong. I said I couldn’t take it any more I was going to kill JW. John and Dave managed to calm me down. I was then off sick until 28th August 2006; 54 days.

48. I had a viral infection as I was exhausted. Before I went off I went to see Allan Auty and pleaded with him to remove me from that section; his response was that he had his speech to write for the Trading Standards conference and would discuss it afterwards.

49. I went to see the Occupational Health doctor on 20th July see p40-43 and p44-45.
50. JW did a home visit in August. JW arrived at my house; I did not want this woman in my house. I did not have the energy to object. I sat and listened to her gossip. I said “yes” and “no”. I offered no refreshment. I was exhausted, tired, depressed. I remember when I was absent I had sent a Doctors note via the post and JW phoned me at home and said they had not received the note and that I would have to go back to the Doctors if they had not received it within the next week. I can’t remember the date, I was upset, and then she contacted me to say the note had been received. After that incident I asked my Father/Friends/Brother to hand deliver all notes.
51. We had caller ID on our telephone at home and knew JW’s mobile number so I used to tell my family and friends to ignore the phone. One day, my niece was staying with me, and I have always played a major part in her upbringing. The phone rang and it was JW. My niece answered the phone and gave it to me. Afterwards my niece wanted to know why I was not facing up to my problems, when I had always raised her to tell the truth and to face her problems, when here I was not facing my problem. How could I explain to my niece that Aunty, who was strong and confident, who had always faced problems head on was depressed.
52. The day after I returned, I had a return to work interview with JW, who wrote it up see p47. In answer to the question “Is your sickness absence related with problems at work or home?” it states “No problems @ work or home relating to sickness absence”. I felt that JW was bullying me but I did not have the strength to say that my problem was with JW. I was alone and felt intimidated by this person.
53. I hadn’t really realised that I was run down and having viral infections because of JW. The actions and deeds of JW caused me so much distress. The bullying and oppressive behaviour by JW was a constant source of upset and distress. As an adult it is a truly horrible experience to be on the receiving end of bullying. It is a truly insidious behaviour that no one wants to believe this is actually happening to you. I realised everything was linked to the behaviour of management.
54. On my return the situation remained the same. I was still located in Business Support, still having to answer Environmental Health calls and still battling with JW over the phones. The new Enforcement Co-ordinator had started, Stephanie Hudson. Steff was very helpful and supportive towards me. Steff thanked me for the work I did. .Steff decided that I should not use the spreadsheet and Job sheet that Karen had implemented and this made the FPN’s a lot easier.
55. On 25th September 2006 I sent an email to Allan Auty asking him to deal with the phones. This was a brief email as Allan was fully aware of the issue as I had emailed him previously (but do not have a copy) see p51. He responded the next morning see p50. Allan made reference to a new person who would be moving to Julius’s desk, next to me. Allan then said that ‘anyone can (and should) pick up a call (depending on what they are doing of course)’. That was my very point. I was overworked with the Fixed Penalties. Allan failed to accept that I was telling him that I was too busy and that this was causing me additional stress and this was having a detrimental affect on my health. Allan should have been clearer and should have made decisions because clearly JW and I couldn’t agree on the “depending on what they are doing of course” part of his decision in his email.
56. In his email he also suggested that Danny’s phone can be diverted when Danny is off. I replied straight away saying that I wanted to discuss the situation see p65A B.
57. I was desperate and could see that Allan was not going to respond. I sent an email to Dave Horsfield, Trading Standards Manager, asking him to discuss the situation with Allan Auty. I had frequently discussed the issues with the phones with Dave. I explained that my workload was too heavy and that I was finding this situation ‘extremely stressful’ and asked for a meeting to resolve the situation, to include JW see p48.
58. Two minutes later, JW sent me an email saying that I should tell her what my issue was. I had been telling JW since we had moved to Brougham Terrace and JW knew the issue. It wasn’t simply answering the phones. It was the fact that this interfered with the legal deadlines for the Fixed Penalties, which caused me to feel anxious, depressed and very upset, and the fact that I did not have the knowledge to answer Environmental Health queries.
59. JW asked me not to go to senior managers. I had to, because JW had failed to take action concerning my complaints and I did not feel able to talk to her about the issues I had raised. This caused me stress, depression and anxiety; I felt exhausted. Every time I discussed it with JW, I felt as though I was banging my head against a wall; JW would not listen, she would dictate that I had to answer the phones.
60. As I had already emailed Dave Horsfield I simply forwarded this to him and asked him to deal with it for me see p49.
61. I responded to JW, copying it to Dave Horsfield and Allan Auty see p58 (the email at the top of the page at 11.44am).
62. If I were to answer Environmental Health phone calls, I required training. At the same time, I was extremely concerned that if I was absent due to training, the Fixed Penalties would be left and I would have a backlog, as no one else dealt with the Fixed Penalties.
63. The problem was that JW was treating me the same as all other Business Support Officers; I was not the same. I was the ONLY one who was specialising in the Fixed Penalties and Enforcement work. JW was incapable of comprehending that my work was completely different from the rest of the team and constantly tried to compare my work to others without having any knowledge of exactly what my work entailed. That was the problem – JW didn’t appreciate that she had to tailor the Business Support to the Department’s needs. JW did not listen to my requests, causing me further distress and upset.
64. JW replied a few minutes later by email see p61 (bottom of page 12.02pm). JW reinforced that I was the same as all members of Business Support and that Karen Tyrer was my Line Manager and would address my issues, including training. JW also said that they had spoken to Steff Hudson and that she was aware of this and agreed to it. JW had no authority to try and change my contract without consulting me.
65. JW did arrange for a colleague to sit with me with a ‘splitter’ phone connection. But she didn’t address the fundamental issue that I was too busy to take on Environmental Health phone calls – and training – due to the Fixed Penalty work. JW also said that attempts to divert the phones didn’t work. I diverted the phone to JW’s phone a number of times so in fact it did work.
66. I replied to this in an email about half an hour later, see p61 (top 12.30pm). I explained that the phone could in fact be diverted. I re-iterated that my workload was heavy, that the situation was causing me further stress and upset, I did not have the knowledge and was concerned about how my work would be covered whilst I was being trained.
67. JW approached me at my desk. She said “you will answer the phones” and proceeded to mention other members of staff’s work in a tone that everyone in the office could hear. I feel JW did this because as my manger she COULD and it was a form of bullying. The meeting was oppressive and intimidating.

68. I have recently seen JW’s note of that conversation see p66. That is generally accurate. I was desperate to have a meeting with someone who would listen to me, as JW was not prepared to openly discuss the issues I had raised. She refused to discuss with me in the presence of my Trade Union representative as support. I asked to meet with Allan Auty and JW refused. If JW had wanted to reach an informal solution why did JW refuse to these meetings?

69. I felt undermined, undervalued, exhausted, I felt no one was listening. That was extremely distressing and in my view it is bullying and harassment. JW just wasn’t listening to me and addressing my workload complaint. I had no option but to either continue in this oppressive and bullying environment – which was on a par with hitting my head against a brick wall – or I would commence formal grievance procedures which I really didn’t want to do as the situation would be made worse.

70. I did not accept that I should not be keeping Trading Standards informed of my workload and my availability. So, I spoke with Allan Auty and told him how concerned I was and about my meeting with JW. He asked me to keep him informed of all Trading Standards work and to let him know if I was falling behind. He did not seem to understand just how upsetting it was that I was being treated this way by JW but at least he did ask me to go through him, not Karen Tyrer.

71. I emailed all FOUR of the managers involved to confirm this. I could not face any more misunderstandings which might lead to further over-bearing treatment by JW. I couldn’t believe that so many managers were involved and it STILL was not clear. In fact, looking back on it, that is probably why it wasn’t clear. It only needed one decisive manager and that should have been Allan Auty.

72. I confirmed that I was behind with my Fixed Penalty work, due to having to answer the Environmental Health telephone calls. I also confirmed that I had come from Finance, not a manual background, which was in response to JW’s insulting comment see p67.

73. JW says in her report that this contradicted what Allan Auty had told her. I was not aware of this see point 8 on p53 (bottom). This was a managerial decision. Looking back on it now, with the benefit of hindsight, this was up to the managers to sort out but they failed and this was negligent; they failed in their duty of care to me.

74. I felt that I had no choice but to commence a grievance which I did. The grievance indicated that the stress was making me ‘feel physically ill’. I went home early that day – about 3.45pm – I was upset. I was in work at my usual early time the next morning: about 7.30am see my email at 3.20pm p68-70.

75. I never stated the word ‘bullying’ in the grievance as I knew the reaction would be negative. I wanted to be allowed to continue with the work I was paid to do. I wanted the bullying to stop. I genuinely expected there to be a meeting and that it would all be resolved by Allan Auty but of course it wasn’t.

76. The next morning I received JW’s email reply saying she was on leave until 3rd October and would arrange a date once she returned see p71. I was distressed that she felt that SHE should be arranging a hearing for my grievance. I felt this was a conflict of interest. The reason for submitting a FORMAL grievance was that she had refused to allow meetings with the Trade Union present or with Allan Auty. I found that this was totally unacceptable.

77. I do appreciate now that that was not what happened but, at the time, I did not know this and it played on my mind continually whilst JW was away. I sent her another email on 28th September.

78. I stated that I wanted a witness present at all future discussion, which should take place in private, not in front of anyone. I also pointed out that JW was wrong to stop me having my Trade Union representative present. This email was copied to Allan Auty, Steff Hudson and Dave Horsefield. I asked JW to send me notes of that conversation which she did see p73.

79. I reminded her that I had not come from a ‘manual background’. I was letting her know that I found her comments offensive and derogatory. I explained it was condescending and irrelevant. I knew this was about bullying. I felt very uncomfortable speaking to JW alone. I felt intimidated by JW. by her actions, deeds and behaviour towards me.

80. JW was undermining my office experience. I had studied for 3 years at night school, the courses included secretarial course, the ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence), typing and I was at that time studying for a Diploma IN LAW as part of the ILEX qualification. I wanted to work on the Trading Standards prosecutions. I saw my long-term future with the Council. As I had worked for the Council for so long, I had seen people come and go, take courses which were paid by the Council and then move on to the private sector. I actually believed in Liverpool City Council and would have stayed until I retired.

81. I passed one exam and failed the other by eight marks. The exams were in May 2007 and I failed because of the stress of work, I could not concentrate. I was extremely upset as the exams meant a lot to me as I had not studied at school. The Council had paid for one of the Business Support employees to do an ICT qualification. She went on to become an Enforcement Officer. The managers in Trading Standards saw what was happening to me and made her an Enforcement Officer. I would also question why Andy Hull’s former secretary (who could not type) was classed as an Enforcement Officer, as she never carried out any Enforcement work, while I worked for Trading Standards. It was as if you would get what you wanted based on whether ‘your face fitted’, not on whether you were good enough.

82. Whilst JW was on holiday I met with Karen Tyrer. She emailed JW on 3rd October, when she was back at work see p76. I had told Karen that I was fine with taking phone messages. I felt I had no choice but to persevere until the grievance was heard.

83. On 6th October JW wrote to me giving the date of grievance hearing (16th October). I felt this was totally inappropriate. Due to Allan Auty’s holiday, the date changed, and the grievance was heard in Allan’s absence. The papers were JW’s own report see p53 and appendices plus statements from Allan Auty and Don Smith see p85-86.

84. On 6th November I emailed Paul Farrell and asked him who would be present at the forthcoming Grievance Hearing and what would be discussed. I was very apprehensive about attending this meeting. He replied with that information and then said that the meeting is not to ‘point fingers or criticise, it is an attempt to achieve resolution if possible’ see p89A. I felt this was incorrect. Paul’s task was to decide a formal grievance. This was not a mediation. It was EXACTLY about criticising JW and having someone support me and say that I had been mistreated. Why was Paul not prepared to ‘criticise’ JW, if he accepted what I was saying was correct. It’s hardly surprising Paul did not uphold my grievance when he did not wish to make a stance.

85. On 8th November 2006 I attended the Grievance Hearing convened by Paul Farrell, Team Leader Environmental Health. My Trade Union representative was present. Alan Auty was unable to attend due to holidays. JW did attend and conducted herself inappropriately; raising her voice, in what could be deemed by any definition as an extremely aggressive tone and manner. At one point Arthur Moss, my Union rep, stood up to walk out and Paul Farrell spoke to JW, saying she had to conduct herself in a more appropriate manner. I think that this was on the topic of my job description, which JW had tried to say was generic and that I had to answer the phones the same as all other Assistant Business Support Officers. I think before this she had provided a new job description for me saying this before this meeting, not reflecting that my work was mainly for the Enforcement Co ordinator.

86. Although I was accustomed to JW’s behaviour, I was still extremely nervous, especially treating me in such an inappropriate way in front of others. JW was allegedly the manager, alas JW did not conduct herself in an appropriate manner as one would expect from a manger of a professional organisation. JW’s behaviour without witnesses was oppressive, abrupt and intimidating. I was no longer prepared to speak to JW alone. I told Paul Farrell this.

87. That day, Paul Farrell sent an email to Allan Auty asking him to attend a meeting with him, which happened on 8th December 2006 see p86A. I had access to Allan Auty’s electronic diary. I made a note in the diary for Allan. When Allan came back from his holidays, I could no longer access his diary. Strangely, he told me that it was a ‘technical issue’. If it was a technical issue, it was never fixed.

88. A couple of days later in November I took a telephone call from a pensioner regarding a Fixed Penalty Notice which had been issued to him. During the course of this telephone call it became clear that there was a high probability that the pensioner had been the victim of an identity fraud – he had a FPN in his name with the correct address. I advised him to report this to the Police. As well as dealing with possible identity theft, this would help him to have the Fixed Penalty Notice withdrawn. I felt that he had not fully comprehended the situation and had become confused so I discussed it with the Enforcement Officer and wrote to the pensioner to confirm the advice I had given to him.

89. On 10th November JW sent an email to Steff Hudson, Andy Hull and other staff requesting a procedure to be compiled to address this kind of situation. I felt criticised and undermined by JW. If JW had an issues with something concerning me one would of expected a competent manager to broach the subject with me, not discuss the issue with senior management and exclude me from the discussions. I felt undermined, upset as though every action I was doing, JW was waiting to undermine me see p90.

90. In mid-November JW sent an email to two employees in Business Support and me. She attached a job description for a scale 3/4 post within Environmental Health and Trading Standards saying she was ‘inviting expressions of interest’ as there were two posts available and that it was ring fenced to the three of us. However, on 16th November 2006 – the day before JW’s closing date – she withdrew it. This made me feel very suspicious. I was going through a grievance procedure about JW and this was her trying to either get me to agree to report directly to her or it was an attempt to push me out – as there were only 2 jobs for 3 of us. I found this stressful and intimidating. No explanation was ever offered see 91D-E.

91. On 27th November Andy Hull wrote to me supplying me a copy of the contract and saying it took effect from 28th September. I do not know why he chose that date. A reasonable employer would not change your contract so that you answered directly to someone you have submitted a grievance against, before the outcome of the grievance. I felt that Andy Hull was bullying me into accepting the new contract. Andy was the head of EH&TS and I felt he was trying to pressurise me into accepting JW as my manger. This caused me further stress and upset.

92. It had been agreed at the meeting in September that it would be stated in my contract of employment that I would work directly with the Enforcement Co ordinator and would answer directly to Business Support. That was not included so I never signed the contract, as there was no proper consultation or discussion about the job description sent with this letter. I took it to be an OFFER, not a decision see p91A-C.

93. Allan Auty in his witness statement dated 1st November said it wouldn’t work if I was removed from being line-managed by the Enforcement Co ordinator see p86. Andy Hull tried implement a change in my contract, knowing that this would cause me upset and distress. On numerous occasions I have asked Andy Hull for a clear explanation to explain his actions. Andy has always quoted this is what the executives want. I feel this is not an explanation, it is an excuse. Executives are not incompetent and the explanation Andy has given implies they are. Why would the Executives change my contract to answer directly to a person I have submitted a grievance against before the outcome of a grievance?

94. On 8th December 2006 I attended, with my Trade Union representative, a further meeting with Paul Farrell in relation to my Grievance as Allan Auty had returned from holiday. I was upset when Allan denied having a meeting with JW about the telephones issue in May 2006. He put his head in his hands and said he couldn’t remember this meeting. I was absolutely appalled. Allan had several meetings with JW and Karen Tyrer. I knew that the grievance would not be upheld and that JW would have carte blanche to do what she wanted to do.

95. On 11th December 2006 Paul Farrell wrote to me dismissing my Grievance, although Paul did note that management of the issue could have been better. It is irrelevant stating the grievance was dealt with quickly in September 2006; the issues I had raise had been ongoing for months see p92-93.
96. Paul also says that it was confusing that any changes to the job were verbal. I agree. It’s unfortunate that the record of my grievance hearings is also verbal as no minutes were produced.
97. I was offered an appeal which I declined as I saw this process as futile, if Allan Auty was going to deny the meeting in May and Andy Hull would be hearing the appeal. I could not understand why Andy Hull tried to change my job description so that I answered directly to JW before the outcome of the grievance. This person had bullied and intimidated me; why did Andy try to do this? Andy has never given me a clear answer to this question despite the fact I have refused to have any dealings with this person without a witness present.
98. Later in December 2006 I had a meeting with Andy Hull, Steff Hudson and Allan Auty to try to resolve the situation. Andy Hull tried to persuade me to agree to the change to my contract set out in his letter and job description dated 27th November. It was a more generic position and had me reporting directly to Business Support. This was a few days after the grievance had been dismissed and it felt totally insensitive and unacceptable even though I was to be re-graded up to a scale 3/4 Business Support Officer. Basically, Andy Hull stated that he would re-grade me if I agreed to be managed by the person I had just submitted a grievance against. Andy Hull said that it was what the Chief Executive’s Office wanted.

99. In the meeting Andy was asking me why I wouldn't sign the contract. He actually stated "it is not as though Karen Tyrer beats you with a stick". I thought that was inappropriate for Andy to say. It proves that Andy’s knowledge of bullying and harassment is extremely limited; Andy just did not comprehend that it is not only physical assault. This puts the failure of ANYONE, in relation to my situation, to refer to a harassment policy or a definition of bullying into perspective. The management had no comprehension of bullying, it was apparent by the lack of response to my pleas for help.

100. It has been brought to my attention that Andy Hull has actually produced a power point presentation for his new employer, Health@Work, with a colleague on the effects of bullying in the workplace, which I find highly ironic as Andy failed to protect me from the bullying behaviour of managers. In fact, at times Andy Hull’s behaviour towards me could by any definition be construed as bullying.

101. Andy actually quotes the following on the Health @ Work presentation: “Many clients initial problems are non-medical, and are related to poor management and lack of support – particularly in large organisations. This can lead to an escalation of minor issues into complex health problems.” Maybe if Andy would have taken heed of what he had written I would still be in employment and not be on anti-depressants see pXXX.

102. Going back to the meeting, after a great deal of discussion it was agreed that the only change to the contract was that I would answer to Business Support and not the Enforcement Officer, but that my work would not change. This was because Andy would not budge and I would not budge and it was literally going round in circles. I wanted a new contract or job description to reflect this and did not sign the one Andy Hull had sent.

103. I remember Andy Hull saying to me that ‘the Council’s Solicitor could fight it in Employment Tribunal’. I referred to this in my later grievance appeal dated 8th November 2007. I felt that this comment was very intimidating and oppressive see p225 (bottom of page).

104. As a result of the way I had been treated and due to the risk of having to answer to JW, I requested re-deployment directly after the meeting. I wasn’t going to agree to being managed by JW. I did not SIGN the contract. However, on the advice of my Trade Union representative I later changed my mind as I did not know where I would be located or what position I would be assigned to. I was feeling very vulnerable, depressed and anxious.

105. On 18th January 2007 JW emailed a number of employees in Business Support with a new job description see 93A-B. That afternoon, I emailed Andy Hull about the new job description, objecting as it did not incorporate amendments that we agreed to in the meeting see p93C. Andy Hull never responded to this email. I never signed the contract. I was never re-graded to a scale 3/4 and was never paid at this higher rate of pay. However, subsequently I was treated as if this contract was in force but I never agreed to it and objected to being managed by Business Support.

106. I see in the bundle that there is a sick line signing me off from 29th January 2007 for two months due to depression. I am confused by this as I was at work during this period see p310.

107. On 31st January 2007 I sent an email to Karen Tyrer and Steff Hudson advising them that I had a ‘pre op’ appointment on 7th March and a hospital appointment on 14th March, stating that I did not know how long I would be absent for, from 14th March. I knew that if I was absent for longer than 6 weeks there would have to be a home visit in accordance with Council policy. I explained in this email that I did not want to have a visit from anyone “from the office”, which meant Business Support. Instead, I said that I would prefer a member of the Human Resources Department to visit me see p98.

108. Between 1st 5th February 2007 there was a series of emails between myself and JW in which JW said that she would be conducting the home visits as she was my manager and she was responsible for managing my absence. I had stated that under no circumstances I wanted any dealings with JW without a witness of my choice present; I had submitted a grievance against this person. I felt intimidated and undermined; under no circumstances did I want a home visit from this person. I knew I needed to finalise whom would manage my sickness absence before I went into hospital as I would be in no condition physically or mentally to challenge the managers.

109. I said I would therefore like any home visits to be undertaken by Steff Hudson, Enforcement Officer. JW kept insisting that, in accordance with Council procedures, it would be herself who would be managing my absence. I found the tone of JW’s emails oppressive and bullying. The very first email replied with big bold letters. This was suppose to be a welfare visit, the tone of the emails made feel anxious, upset and depressed; I also felt as though I wanted to cry all the time. I felt JW’s handling of the situation was extremely aggressive.

110. I objected to JW managing my absence or visiting my home, due to the added stress that this would cause me in what was already a stressful situation, due to the poor relationship with JW. I felt harassed by her correspondence, particularly its tone, and this caused me more anxiety, depression and distress. I wanted my other manager, Steff Hudson, to manage my absence and home visit. Those emails found at pages 98-94, with the email in big bold type at p96.

111. On 5th February Steff sent an email to JW saying it was ‘a welfare’ visit not a ‘warfare’ visit see p101. Steff met with JW and Ann Gill on 9th February 2007 and said that she felt that JW was bullying me.

112. I have recently seen JW’s email to Ann Gill about this meeting see p109 110. JW was upset that she was being accused of bullying me. I was hugely relieved that Steff could see the awful oppressive behaviour I had been subjected to. I agree with Steff’s description that things between me and JW were a ‘battlefield’ from the middle of 2006. It seemed that every day JW would come out with comments. I either ignored them or removed myself from the room. This is what led to my grievance. I have to ask: how come Steff could see it was a battlefield yet JW said she wasn’t aware of my issues? I think Steff’s comments in February 2007 put events leading to my grievance in the previous September in a new light, supporting my comments and undermining Paul Farrell’s decision.

113. JW’s email shows that either she doesn’t understand, or doesn’t WANT to understand; how I was feeling that she was causing me stress. I would say she might have needed more training, I KNOW that she was being nasty just for the sake of it and the reason for that was because I had challenged her authority and threatened her little empire-building efforts. That’s what happened in 2006 and little did I know but it was about to happen again.

114. On 9th February Allan Auty replied to my email to him on 30th January saying that I was no longer on the Trading Standards email list. I was suspicious that I had been removed. I wondered if JW had done this to prove a point or to show that I was Business Support NOT Trading Standards. I didn’t know if it was victimisation but wanted to see what reaction there would be. Allan Auty made no comment, he just put me back on the list see p108.

115. I also asked that no one asked me about my forthcoming hospital absence. I did not wish to discuss my gynaecological health with any of them. That was really insensitive see p107. JW did this on my last day in work, I chose to totally ignore her and spoke to a colleague instead, as I knew if I had listened to JW and responded I would have been extremely angry, to say the least.

116. As explained in JW’s email on p110, my Trade Union representative spoke to JW on 12th February asking for someone else to manage my forthcoming absence; again JW refused to change her mind. I had given JW six weeks’ notice and she wasn’t prepared to accept my request and the stress I was feeling, despite requests from me, Steff and Arthur.

117. On 12th February 2007 I wrote to Ann Gill by email about a comment she made at a team meeting the previous week. Ann Gill referred to redeployed staff starting in the Department and that one was off with stress. I thought that was highly inappropriate at the time. She mentioned that I had come from ‘re-deployment’ which I felt was not necessary. I felt undermined and offended see p108A.

118. On the afternoon of 13th February I emailed JW as yet another issue between us arose. She had told me that I would have to move to a different desk due an office re organisation. I couldn’t see why I had to move so soon as it was a few weeks before the new desks which had been ordered were due to be delivered. I explained that I needed more desk space for the work I was doing and the temporary move would make it more difficult, so why not wait until the new desks arrived, which would also mean I wouldn’t have to move twice. I was the only one who had to move at that point. JW said that if I needed additional space, a risk assessment would be arranged. No risk assessment was ever arranged. As the Council’s Health and Safety Department are based in Brougham Terrace, JW could have spoken to the staff to arrange an assessment before the move.

119. All mangers were made aware of the events that were unfolding as I included them in every email between JW and myself. This started with a reply from JW within a few minutes insisting I had to move see p116.

120. I felt that, once again, JW was not listening to my concerns or that she was ignoring them. It felt like September 2006 all over again and I was getting distressed at having to go through it all again. The next morning I tried to explain again to her in an email but she simply replied that I was moving that afternoon, without replying to my suggestion see p115.

121. I emailed again an hour later as by then JW had come to speak to me. This was in the Trading Standards room, where others could see and hear us. As I have explained already in this witness statement, I had asked JW only to meet with me when I have a companion and she was not respecting that so I confirmed it in an email, to which JW replied half an hour later denying it was a meeting, saying she had only ‘spoken’ to me. That was being evasive. Anyway, JW did then agree to a meeting where I could be accompanied see p114.

122. We had a meeting that morning, 14th February, and I was accompanied by Derek Pennell, Trading Standards Officer who is also a witness in these proceedings. JW had asked Karen Tyrer to be present. It was a short meeting. My point was that, as there was no date for the delivery of the new desks, it was premature for me to move as there would be double the disruption when the new desks did arrive. JW just said it wasn’t open for debate. JW gave no reasons in response to my point about there being no date for the desks and just said that I was to move that afternoon. I felt it was unfair and as I was the only one affected by the move, then it meant that it was only me who was ‘challenging’ JW’s authority. Although she wasn’t aggressive in this meeting, it felt very hostile.

123. I believe JW thought I was just being unreasonable for the sake of it; I wasn’t. I was busy and didn’t want to have unnecessary disruption. I felt that JW was exercising her authority because she felt she could, even if she had no apparent reason. It was bullying in my view.

124. I asked JW for a note of the meeting but she refused so I made a note which JW then disagreed with, saying it was inaccurate see p112A-C.

125. I have recently seen JW’s email to Ann Gill and Karen Tyrer about this meeting see p113. It confirms that JW just wasn’t prepared to discuss it with me. It shows that she had a closed mind and in my view it shows that she just didn’t like being questioned by me. I did move desks that morning. I felt awful – angry, harassed anxious and sad, that another human being could be so oppressive.

126. The new desks arrived on 9th March 2007 and, as expected, it was disruptive. We all had to clear our work stations.

127. On 7th March 2007 I was due to attend the pre-operative appointment I had referred to in previous emails. I provided a copy of the appointment letter to Steff Hudson. Approximately one hour before leaving for this appointment I was called to a meeting with JW. I asked if I could be accompanied by a colleague, Jeni Driscol, who I had taken with me. JW initially refused, which I considered to be inappropriate; this made me feel anxious. JW knew I wanted to have a witness and was attempting to prevent this. I felt uneasy and suspicious. JW indicated that she was unhappy at always having to have meetings at which I was accompanied and that she would be taking matters further. I wish JW had as we might never have got as far as this Employment Tribunal hearing. Eventually JW allowed Jeni to remain; she has provided a witness statement for this Tribunal hearing.

128. In the meeting JW advised me that she had not received a copy of my hospital appointment letter and that if she did not receive it then my absence would be classed as unauthorised. I told her that I had already given a copy to Steff and that I found it very stressful to have to discuss this with her. She informed me that she was my Line Manager and would be managing my absence.
129. I find it difficult to accept that JW behaved in such an inappropriate manner literally just before I was leaving to attend the hospital for tests. I remember JW saying to me in the meeting “stop saying you’re very stressed”. The behaviour was totally unacceptable and abusive. I was upset and removed myself from this abusive situation before I reacted as badly as I wanted to under this provocation. I made a note of that meeting see p139A.

130. Why didn’t JW just ask Steff for the appointment letter? It was difficult enough dealing with JW on a normal day but on days when I was not feeling well or when she was being awful, it was impossible. Again, if this is how she behaves in front of a witness, you can imagine what she’s like when I was alone with her. That’s why I’m so sure she is the reason why I had so many days off work.

131. Also, I had had an appointment with the anaesthetist about two weeks before this and had shown Karen Tyrer and Steff Hudson the appointment letter. JW never demanded a copy of the letter on that occasion.

132. After the meeting on 7th March and before leaving for my hospital appointment, I left JW a copy of my appointment letter and emailed her asking for a meeting upon my return see p117A-B see p139 – the letter showing my appointment was at 1pm on 7th March.

133. This is confirmed in JW’s email to Allan Auty which once again demonstrates that the issue really is that management have failed to agree on how I was to be managed see p118.

134. This was a stressful time for me, going for a pre-operative appointment, and about an hour before I go I have to have this kind of meeting. It is oppressive, bullying behaviour. The behaviour of JW damaged any possibility of any kind of respectful relationship with JW. I can never forgive Jacquie Whitfield for the oppressive bullying behaviour towards me.

135. The week before I went into hospital my Union representative spoke to me. A member of staff (he did not say who) had expressed concern about my welfare.

136. On 14th March, 2007 I underwent major surgery. I was not a day patient, as has been referred to in Council documents a number of times. I should have stayed in for more than one night, I wanted to go home. I was very distressed and upset. I had no idea that I would, one year later, resign without ever returning to work.

137. My GP signed me off due to ‘post op’ from 20th March and subsequently, although not all sick lines seem to be in the bundle see p311-316. From 26th July 2007 this changed to being signed off for work-related depression see p317, depression see p318, work related depression see p320 and then in January 2008 for 6 months with ‘depression – stress, reports bullying at work’ see p322. That was the last sick line and went beyond the date of my resignation.

138. On 14th March I sent an email to management saying how important it was to me that I did not want JW to manage my sickness absence. I made it clear that I did not want any contact with JW whilst I was absent. It’s written in very strong terms at 4 o’clock in the morning. I was very stressed about this operation and about having to discuss my health with JW, when I expected to be off work for a few weeks see p139B.

139. To give a quick summary of what happened over the next few months, I repeatedly asked that Steff Hudson should manage my sickness absence, as set out in my email. The Council did not permit this and insisted on my sickness being managed by Business Support. I became increasingly stressed and consider that this was a very lengthy course of harassment.

140. It started on 2nd May 2007 when Ann Gill wrote to me to arrange an ‘attendance support meeting’, rather than me meeting with JW. It was to take place in the office see p144. I replied on 4th May asking for the meeting to be away from the office and to be accompanied by my Trade Union representative. I needed to know who else was to be present as I was very suspicious and sensitive; I was very anxious at the thought of this meeting. As an alternative, I asked that Steff could instead visit me at home see p145. Ann Gill replied on 15th May by setting a date in a neutral venue and gave me permission to bring my Trade Union representative. She did not seem to have considered my request for Steff to do a home visit see p146.

141. Also, regrettably Ann Gill did not, as I had asked, arrange the date with my Trade Union representative. This meant that I had to write to her again, on 18th May, as he was unable to attend the date she had set see p149. This was all ‘stressful’ as I was concerned that the letter might not get to Ann Gill in time (which I have explained had happened previously), so I had to arrange for it to be hand-delivered as well. This would not have been necessary if she had contacted my Trade Union representative first, as I had requested. I felt that she had been thoughtless and ‘stuck’ in her need to just follow procedure without thinking about me and what I needed. I repeated my request that Steff should make a home visit.

142. I felt that Ann Gill was not being as supportive as she could. I was emotional as this was an extremely private matter. I have had my illness since I was a teenager and going for surgery was a VERY stressful time for me. I have never openly discussed it with strangers or people I did not know well. The impression I received was that I had to fit in with Ann Gill, although it was me who was at home, feeling anxious, depressed, tearful, trying to recuperate from an operation. Ann Gill just wasn’t helpful to me. Ann Gill caused me more upset and distress by her draconian attitude. A home visit is supposed to be about my welfare. No consideration was ever given to my welfare. I was upset and Ann Gill knew I was upset yet she continued to harass me. What about my feelings? Are they not important? I had had major surgery, I had been bullied and Ann Gill quotes procedure. I am a human being not a procedure.

143. On 11th May 2007 my sick pay reduced to half pay. This caused me lots of anxiety It wasn’t actually confirmed to me until a letter from payroll dated 22nd June 2007, which is very unfair, but fortunately I was aware of it see p159A.

144. On 14th May I went to see the Occupational Health doctor, Dr Roberts. I told him about my operation and my distress at work. When Doctor Roberts told me that it was JW who had sent for the medical, I very upset and screamed at Doctor Roberts “that I would only discuss it with him if he could guarantee that his report would not go to JW.” I think he was quite shocked. He was very supportive and sensitive, which was a great help. He managed to pacify me by asking who I would like the report to go to, so I said the Director, John Kelly. It was as though he was actually trying to work around what I needed, not just what he needed. It is apparent to me that if he can do this, then so can Business Support. Doctor Roberts did offer me counselling; my response was slightly negative, I screamed at the poor Doctor again, “I am not nuts I don’t need a counsellor.” On hindsight I really did need to see a counsellor then. I was extremely manic at the time and Doctor Roberts was lovely, he was just so sweet, really calm and I was so psychotic then.

145. Dr Roberts prepared a report dated 17th May in which he recommended a meeting with management to discuss my long-standing issues with JW and to help to resolve the situation so that I would feel able to return to work. He noted on the report that I objected strongly to it being sent to JW see p147 148. The report was addressed to John Kelly, Executive Director, who it can be seen made a handwritten note on 19th May asking for Andy Hull to report back to Occupational Health. The report was sent to me on 21st May see p148A.

146. On 21st May, Ann Gill wrote to confirm a new date for the attendance support meeting which would be with her. Again, there was no reference to Steff making a home visit which was very disappointing; she was simply ignoring this which caused me further upset see p150. On 29th May I emailed Steff and said I wanted her to do a home visit and she said she would try to attend the meeting arranged with Ann Gill on 31st May, but I cancelled it, asking Ann Gill again for Steff to do a home visit. I was feeling very down and depressed at the time and had had severe panic attacks at the thought of meeting with Ann Gill. I emailed the letter to Steff and asked her to print it for Ann Gill see p150A-151.

147. In May 2007 – I don’t remember the date – I visited my local Councillor Berni Turner. I was really upset and could not stop crying. This was just so unlike me. I never used to be an emotional person. I did not know what to do, even though I had been told not to speak to Councillors. She said she would speak to Colin Hilton. I gave her copies of correspondence relating to the bullying from September 2006.

148. I decided to try to get a more senior manager to see my point of view and hopefully overrule Ann Gill and allow Steff to visit me. I emailed John Kelly saying that as Steff had returned from holiday, I wanted her to do the welfare visit, pointing out how stressed I was. I did actually send him a bit of a barrage of emails unfortunately, at different time of the day and night. I was desperate and so depressed.

149. I emailed John Kelly on a few dates – in emails marked ‘private’, for his attention only – telling him how upset I was and that I used to come home from work and just cry: 25th and 27th and 31st May see p151A-E. I expected John Kelly to implement some form of mediation.

150. The following week, on 3rd June, I wrote a letter to Regeneration explaining that I was feeling extremely depressed and that my sister had paid for a holiday; I couldn’t face writing to Ann Gill again and hoped that a more senior manager would deal with it, at that time I was depressed see p152.

151. Before I received a reply to the letter, I received a letter from Ann Gill dated 4th June see p153. I was reprimanded for having written to the Leader of the Council and other Councillors. I was inconsolable; I couldn’t stop crying. I felt the Council were bullies trying to hide behind procedures. What was I supposed to do? I was trying to get out of a situation where no-one was listening to me. Now they were threatening to discipline me, for raising my concerns with others whom I hoped would help. There was absolutely no understanding of what I was going through or how I was feeling. I cried for help and they responded with a threat to commence disciplinary action. I was at the end of my tether and it felt like I was just spiralling downhill into depression more and more.

152. Then I received another letter from Ann Gill, dated 11th June, saying that there would not be a home visit from Steff. I felt Ann Gill was bullying me. It was horrible and I felt very stressed. I can appreciate that she was trying to follow Doctor Roberts’ suggestion about a meeting, but Ann Gill was the wrong person to have this meeting with. It needed to be someone I had trust in, someone who was able to understand my position and treat me with some respect and empathy. As I was jointly managed by Steff I felt it would have been more appropriate to be Steff. Everyone kept stating I was managed by JW only and not Steff, but I had never signed the contract saying my job had changed see p154.

153. Why did I have to meet with Ann Gill? She knew that the prospect of meeting with her in May had caused me panic attacks. The procedure she quotes in the letter states that one purpose of the visit is to ‘show concern’ for me, which they clearly were not. They were CAUSING me concern. Also, the letter states that another reason for the meeting is to ‘ascertain if there is anything the Council can do’ to SUPPORT me during my illness. I had virtually BEGGED for them to arrange for Steff to do a welfare visit at home and it was repeatedly ignored. Ann Gill was causing me additional stress and upset, I felt as though I was being bullied by Ann Gill.
154. This was just the same as JW when, at the very outset, she asked what she could do to help see p96. They didn’t want to ‘help’. They wanted me to fit in with THEM. I cannot believe that that is what the policy and procedure they were supposedly following was designed to do. They were not following their own procedure and there is no good reason for that at all. I just could not understand it. It was wrong and it was, I believe, simply an effort to “show who’s the boss” and to put a stop to my complaints. I just can’t find any other possible explanation. I would point out I am human being not a procedure. I think the Council should implement changes to treat staff as human beings not procedures.

155. I wrote to Ann Gill the day I received that letter, 14th June, the contents of which are self explanatory see p157.

156. On 14th June Ann Hale from Human Resources replied to my letter about the holiday request, dated 3rd June see p156. This letter just made me feel sick. What an appalling letter. I was so upset, I couldn’t stop crying. This letter made me feel so many emotions; I was angry, depressed, I wanted to scream at the council ‘LEAVE ME ALONE’. Once again, policy and procedure with no humanity at all. It really is enough to make one want to jump in front of a bus, that’s exactly how I felt. This could have been totally avoided if I had met with Steff in May as I had been requesting for months – in fact, since the start of February 2007. It is insensitive in the extreme. This is bullying and oppressive behaviour.

157. My doctor replied in a letter dated 19th June saying I had had several panic attacks in the past few days, despite medication and that she had actually encouraged me to go on holiday see p157A.

158. On 15th June I emailed John Kelly complaining about Ann Hale’s letter saying that I felt ‘victimised’, that no-one was listening to me and that I was suffering from depression; I said that it was so serious that I was considering seeing a Solicitor see p157B.

159. On 24th June I emailed the Chief Executive asking him to investigate my complaints. I presumed by then he would have heard from Berni Turner. Mr Hilton replied that it would be ‘dealt with through the appropriate procedures’ which was disheartening, although I didn’t really expect much else see p161B.

160. On 25th June 2007 I had a letter hand-delivered to Andy Hull the contents of which are self-explanatory. I made a request under the Freedom of Information Act as this felt more serious than just a letter, which he would probably have ignored again. It was very stressful to have to write in these terms and I was at that time, as I have explained already, feeling extremely stressed, upset, depressed and angry see p160. I never got a reply from Andy Hull. I have seen the letter in the bundle at p270 from him but I never received it. If I had I would have replied. Anyway, it is dated 14th March 2008, which is 9 months later.

161. I sent a copy of this to John Kelly on 24th June asking him to investigate. I was not feeling very well at the time see p161A. I actually wrote to John Kelly twice that day as I also emailed him separately see p159B.

162. I was imploring management to allow Steff to do the home visit instead of Ann Gill. I cannot comprehend why the Director whom I had emailed did not take the initiative and say “Allow Steff to do the visit and take it from there”. Procedures were adhered to, at the expense of my health and sanity.
163. On 26th June 2007 I emailed John Kelly. I gave it a heading of PRIVATE. I apologised for my letter of 15th June and explained that I was very stressed. I asked him to look into my case as I couldn’t face the prospect of another sham grievance. The email is self explanatory and I was horrified that he immediately, within minutes, simply passed it on to Andy Hull to deal with. That was virtually the last thing I wanted. I was going over Andy Hull’s head and here was John Kelly, with no thought at all, sending it straight back to Andy Hull within minutes. I was so upset; I was in complete despair see p 163-162.

164. I replied to him saying that it’s not right for someone to investigate themselves but it made no difference; he seemed to ignore the conflict of interest I was drawing to his attention see page 163A-B.

165. I decided that I had to do something as I could not risk Andy Hull treating the situation superficially or Allan Auty having another ‘memory lapse’. I couldn’t cope with the risk of people following Jacquie Whitfield and Ann Gill because they were managers and because the Department couldn’t risk a grievance being upheld in my favour. How would that look? It would show how incompetent the Department is. I was concerned that as I complained previously I would be treated as a ‘troublemaker’ and the senior managers in the Department wouldn’t take me seriously.

166. After a great deal of consideration I decided that if I wanted an official investigation then I would have to submit a formal grievance and I also thought I had to do it before Andy Hull did anything with the email I had sent to John Kelly.

167. On 29th June I emailed John Kelly again. I copied it to people whom I thought would intervene and ensure a fair and just grievance would be heard. It had not really sunk in that I shouldn’t email Councillors and I was at the end of my tether and no-one was taking me seriously, including John Kelly himself. This was a formal grievance titled ‘Grievance Bullying and Oppressive Behaviour’. It covered some of the history and added new information. As I stated at the end, I did not want to have to do this but I felt that I had no choice see p165-167.

168. I really wanted John Kelly – or someone else above Andy Hull – to meet with me informally and try to find a way to resolve the situation. It would have been so less stressful. I think that was yet another time that the Council could have transferred me to Steff’s management, which I am now aware that Steff had suggested about 9 months previously.

169. Instead, John Kelly replied stating that he would ask Andy Hull to appoint a manager. He appointed Peter Elles, who reports to Andy Hull. Yet again, I was in despair. There was no way anyone in Andy Hull’s Department would criticise Andy.

170. John Kelly ignored my concerns about a conflict of interest and threatened me with disciplinary action if I wrote to a Councillor again see 164. I was so upset when John said this. Why were council so awful? Everything seemed to revolve around procedures. Do the Council not realise human beings are not procedures.

171. I believe that he – and in fact all the managers involved, except Steff – just saw me as a ‘troublemaker’ who was making serial unfounded complaints and that I was not to be taken seriously. John wanted to make sure that the procedures were followed enough to make it LOOK like it was all being done properly. He was just fed up with me and decided that there was no need to take my complaints seriously – and that was because of the complaints I had made. A procedure should be brought in to treat staff with dignity not as a procedure.

172. I replied saying that I was unaware and wouldn’t contact members again. Unfortunately, I did when I was stressed and upset and felt that I had no other options see 167A-B.

173. I did go on that holiday to Mexico although I had been worrying about the grievance hearing. I came home to the letter from Peter Elles, Business Manager, Environmental Health and Trading Standards, dated 9th July arranging a formal grievance hearing. He was to be advised by Ann Hale from Human Resources. I had no confidence in her at all either given her letter to me about the holiday; it quickly felt like I had never been on holiday. I was once again completely stressed see p168.

174. On 19th July, I wrote to Peter Elles confirming that I could attend the hearing and that I would advise him of my witnesses once I had their permission see p169.

175. On 27th July 2007 I met with Peter Elles to discuss my grievance. The purpose was to clarify the nature and details of my grievance.

176. On 2nd August Peter Elles emailed me with his understanding of what my grievance was and clarifying which aspects he would not be dealing with see p171-175. He refused to go over any of the information dealt with in the previous grievance. I was very disappointed by this. I know I could have appealed in January 2007 but I couldn’t face that. Anyway, there was no point if Allan Auty was going to have a ‘memory lapse’. I really hoped that someone outside of Andy Hull’s Department would look at the whole thing.

177. I could not understand why Peter Elles refused to consider the conflict of interests point I had raised. He just said it should be disregarded. This was a crucial part of my grievance see p172 (top).

178. At p174 (top) I am saying that the way Andy Hull dealt with the issue of changing my contract was ‘intimidating’. There was no way on earth that Peter Elles was going to say that about his senior manager. He should have objected to hearing this grievance. I know that Steff Hudson agrees that he shouldn’t have dealt with it and said so at the time.

179. Around the same time I received a letter from Ann Gill dated 31st July see p168. She suggested holding an attendance support meeting on Monday 13th August. I couldn’t face it. I had more panic attacks and went to my GP on 8th August. I was signed off as not well enough to attend see p177.

180. On 7th August I sent amendments to Peter Elles. On 22nd August I emailed Peter Elles to chase up the grievance; he had been unwell see p179. He replied with comments on 24th August which I agreed to see p181 and p184-187.

181. I wondered how seriously he was taking my grievance. Apart from not seeing a conflict of interests, he initially said that the complaints about the hospital appointments in March 2007 had been covered in the first grievance see p187 (top). As that grievance was submitted in September and concluded in December 2006, I don’t know how Peter could have possibly come to that conclusion. I had little confidence in Peter Elles but didn’t have the courage or strength to argue more. I must admit, I was disappointed with my Trade Union representative with the lack of support he gave; I felt he could have been much more assertive for me. There was nothing more I could do to resolve the situation.

182. On 24th August I emailed Peter Elles telling him about an incident when JW knew I was going in for surgery and started going on about her Hysterectomy at the top of her voice. I felt that the way she did that was really insensitive, when she knew I was upset. I believe this was the action of a vindictive, nasty, insidious woman see p187A.

183. On 28th August I emailed Peter Elles telling him about the time when I had been told by JW to do the post and this was overturned by Allan Auty – I’ve described this already in this witness statement – as well as a couple of other incidents see p187B.

184. I was painting a picture for him that this was not isolated incidents. This had been going on for years, with the same people and no action had been taken and no-one had listened to me. Peter Elles seemed to be totally disinterested in the details.

185. On 4th September I contacted Peter Elles to arrange a date for the grievance hearing see p187C. In emails on 20-21 September we arranged a hearing for the grievance on 4th October 2007 (at p189-188). This date was over 3 months form the date of the grievance (29th June 2007). The date was confirmed in a letter dated 21st September in which Peter Elles said that he would interview any witnesses after he had met me see 192.

186. On 21st September I sent an email to Ann Hale, Human Resources, expressing my concerns that my sick pay was about to expire. This was confirmed in a letter from payroll dated 26th September, indicating that my sick pay expired on 11th October see p196A.

187. In my email to Ann Hale I explained that this was due to delays which were not my fault. I felt that I was being forced to return to work and was essentially requesting that my sick pay should be extended. I explained that this was causing me further stress and panic attacks. Ann Hale told me it was ‘not appropriate’ to write to her, yet again quoting procedures at me and criticising and belittling me in an abrupt email see p191.
188. I didn’t know at the time but have now seen on that page that Ann Hale herself immediately sent my email to Ann Gill. This makes Ann Hale’s email to me unnecessary. Ann Hale is adding to my stress unnecessarily and insensitively, despite me having just said that I was having panic attacks and quoting a legal case to her about stress and personal injury (that is, Walker v Northumberland County Council). That is just not acceptable. Ann Hale had missed the point that having Ann Gill manage my sickness absence, and refusing to allow me to see Steff Hudson, had caused me panic attacks. The whole attitude of Ann Hale was oppressive and bullying, causing me additional stress and upset.

189. I replied shortly afterwards to Ann Hale telling her what I thought about just quoting procedures at me and she basically replied telling me the importance of procedures see p191A.

190. I had copied these emails to John Kelly. Nothing was done to extend my sick pay and on 12th October my sick pay became nil. This caused me additional anxiety and distress and left me without income. I became further depressed.

191. On 24th September 2007 I emailed Peter Elles to complaint about Ann Gill’s treatment of me during my sickness absence. I felt that she had been so OPPRESSIVE that, as I was having other issues addressed formally, this should be as well. They were clearly linked. My email says it is a grievance and the contents are self-explanatory. Peter Elles indicated that it would be considered alongside the complaints already under investigation see p193-193A.

192. On 4th October 2007 a Grievance Hearing was convened by Peter Elles, assisted by Ann Hale. He wanted to know why I found the meeting with Andy Hull intimidating. He was trying to imply it was normal procedure, which I was disagreeing with. We were going round in circles I was not articulate, as I was upset and there was no input from my Trade Union representative, which was very disappointing. At one point Peter Elles said “I am started to lose the will to live” which I thought was inappropriate. How can he possibly make a decision if he can’t even ask questions about the issues so that he understands them?

193. After the hearing, to try to help him understand the issue, I sent him an email. This was my email to Andy Hull dated 18th January 2007 about the job description sent to me not being an accurate reflection of the meeting where we agreed that I would be working for the Enforcement Co-ordinator see p203-202 with the job description at 204-205; this was the email I had written to Andy Hull about in June pointing out that he had not replied to the January email previously referred to at p160.

194. I wish to re-iterate to the Employment Tribunal that Andy Hull’s failure to deal with this means that I was asking Peter Elles to criticise Andy Hull. Peter Elles was not strong or brave enough to do that. He could, at that point, have stepped down due to this but didn’t.

195. On 17th October 2007 Dr Roberts from Occupational Health provided a report following my visit to him a couple of days earlier. He advised that I was not fit enough to attend meetings, even with a representative, but was able to provide written representations. This was because I found it really stressful attending the grievance meeting. When I get stressed and upset, I find it really difficult to think straight and to answer questions. It makes me feel stressed. I have also found this to be the case preparing for this Employment Tribunal hearing as I still feel this way see 206-207A. I have also started to suffer from psoriasis and eczema on my face.

196. I have seen the emails in the bundle dated 18th October between Ann Gill and Ann Hale of HR following receipt of Doctor Roberts’ report see p208. There seems to be an inference that as I was able to attend meetings with Peter Elles about my grievance, I should have been able to attend meetings with attendance support meetings with Ann Gill. That is saying that I was basically telling lies about the panic attacks.

197. That is absolute nonsense. Ann Hale should know better. She saw how difficult it was for me to present myself and refute the comments in the grievance hearing. Also, she has missed the point. I had put in a grievance against Ann Gill. I had wanted to have my welfare visit with Steff Hudson, who would have been supportive and was, as I understood it, MY MANAGER. Ann Hale’s comments I feel should be investigated. I am off with depression am on anti depressants, and this woman has the audacity to question my word about the panic attacks. I hope Ann Hale never experiences them. I think an equality and diversity course may help Ann Hale understand the effects of bullying, harassment and oppressive behaviour on your life.

198. I also want to comment on the suggestion of a phased return to work. In principle, that would have been necessary as I had been off since March 2007. However, the easiest thing in the world would have been to put me temporarily under Steff’s management, I had been requesting this. Steff agreed. Also, it would have meant getting back to a position I enjoyed doing and would avoid the need for me to be trained to do a temporary job,

199. That would have made so much sense for EVERYONE. I think by that time my work had been taken on by Legal Services. I could have moved there as well, at least temporarily. Again, that was not discussed with me. Instead of actually trying to provide solutions, management and HR were stuck in a RIGID, inflexible insistence on policy and procedure. Procedures don’t make decisions about people, PEOPLE do.

200. Management appeared to be totally incapable of resolving the situation with a compromise; everything revolved around procedures. This was incompetence by management. Throughout this period I was absent for months, waiting for my sick pay to expire. This is oppressive and bullying behaviour, by any definition. I want to know WHY the Council treated me in such a derogatory, oppressive, bullying, harassing way, That is why I keep raising these issues, the behaviour towards me was deliberate and down right malicious.
201. As well as relocating the Fixed Penalties to Legal Services, I have been informed that the Service Requests and the Consumer Advice Complaints that I once dealt with are now being dealt with by someone who has been brought in by an agency who is located in the Trading Standards room. I was requesting to be moved into the Trading Standards room. It is apparent there was no logical reason for me not to be located in this room.

202. On 25th October Ann Gill sent me an Attendance Support Questionnaire to complete. It is clear from the way I wrote – actually, ranted – over this form that I was depressed and distressed and had extreme concerns about working with Ann Gill and Jacquie Whitfield. I was begging them allow me to be managed by Steff Hudson. Their behaviour implied I had signed the contract in the Autumn of 2006 agreeing to be managed by Business Support. I had not. They still refused to acknowledge that I was not being managed by Ann Gill see 214-216B.

203. That is, management STILL failed to clarify the CENTRAL issue that I genuinely believed that I was to be managed by Stephanie Hudson, not Business Support. That needed to be clarified by senior management, namely Andy Hull. Due to Andy failing to make a decisive decision, from 2006, I am the one who has been the victim of petty managerial disputes. I am a victim because of Andy’s incompetent management and his ineffective decisions for ONE WHOLE YEAR. This is incompetence on a grand scale. I should never have been put in a place so DARK and distressing as to scrawl all over that form. These people need to go on an equality and diversity course; they need to learn that actions have consequences.

204. I should say that the temporary relocation was to pest control and I said I was allergic to ‘vermin’. Also, Jacquie Whitefield frequently visited pest control.

205. As my salary was nil, I needed to submit my original sick lines in order to apply to the Department for Work and Pensions for incapacity benefit. I needed to request them from the Council. I was at the stage where I couldn’t even face THINKING about contacting Business Support. I wanted no dealings with Ann Hale in Human Resources because of the way she was treating me. So, I asked Steff. She could tell how upset and distressed I was and she agreed to help.

206. On 31st October she emailed Ann Gill and Jacquie Whitfield to ask for my original sick lines for me see p217. JW herself sent them to me with a compliments slip. I didn’t want to hear from her and felt that she did it deliberately, knowing it would upset me see p217A.

207. On 31st October Peter Elles wrote to me with the outcome of my grievance. It was not upheld see p219-221.

208. There were no minutes produced for either of the grievance hearings, by Paul Farrell nor by Peter Elles. I felt that this was extremely unfair. Had I known this, I personally would have taken in a tape recorder, that way there would have been no misunderstandings, perhaps the Council will eventually record all grievances? I emailed my Trade Union representative about it in January 2008 concerning this issue see p259C.

209. On 8th November I submitted my appeal the contents of which are self explanatory see p224-226. Jenny Driscoll's statement was provided at the pre grievance meeting to Peter Elles and Ann Hale. I’m not sure about Derek’s. I wasn’t involved; Arthur Moss dealt with this. I discovered later that in his interviews Peter Elles did not ask the witnesses about bullying at all. Strange really, a grievance title called Bullying and Oppressive Behaviour, and no one questioned on bullying.

210. I note from the bundle that Andy Hull was also able to select who heard my appeal see p227. Again, this is Andy Hull choosing his own judge and jury, on the advice of Ann Hale of Human Resources. That is a further CLEAR conflict of interests which makes this procedure unfair.

211. On 3rd December I went to see Doctor Roberts again. His report is at p239-240A. I was saying that I could not risk facing the people I had accused of bullying me but was able to meet with Steff Hudson. Again, this did not happen. I can’t understand why they wouldn’t just arrange for Steff to visit me at home to discuss work. I feel that they – from Business Support managers to senior management – were scared that if they let Steff come to see me now, they would look incompetent for not allowing this to happen sooner. People are human beings not procedures. Had I been treated as a human being, we would not be in this situation.

212. Management should have been flexible, for the benefit of my health. I felt this was continuing punishment for having complained about Jacquie Whitfield from the very beginning and for all my complaints since, about her and others including Allan Auty, Andy Hull and Ann Gill. I could now not even face attending an appeal hearing. That is how badly their mismanagement had affected me.

213. On 10th December I emailed Steven Richardson of Human Resources, who was designated to deal with my appeal. I explained that I couldn’t attend the appeal hearing scheduled for 18th December, due to work related depression. I was confident that it would be a farce and had no faith in the procedures. I indicated I would prefer to deal with the appeal hearing in writing.

214. In various emails, it was explained that the manager deciding the appeal would only have written representations from Peter Elles if I was only submitting written representations and not attending. I agreed to this. I did ask for three witnesses to be re-interviewed but they were not: Stephanie Hudson, Derek Pennell and Jennifer Driscoll see pages: 248, 247, 250, 249.

215. On 13th December my Trade Union representative emailed Stephanie Hudson asking for a statement see p248A. He didn’t tell her the deadline and Steff’s statement didn’t arrive until 21st December, after the appeal see p259A. Jeni and Derek did statements in July 2007.

216. On 17th December I provided my written representations see 257A-C. Peter Elles’ written representations including appendices are at p251-257.

217. On 18th December the grievance appeal was heard in my absence by Dale Willis, Cemeteries and Crematoria Manager. On 20th December he wrote to me with the outcome of the appeal. I received it by email on 21st December, when I had requested it from Stephen Richardson in HR, because I was very anxious about the outcome see p263. My appeal was not upheld see p258-259.

218. Dale Willis refused to re-interview my witnesses. This I felt was wrong. He didn’t even consider whether Peter Elles had covered the bullying aspect in his investigation. I’ve since discovered just how inadequate Peter Elles’ investigation was and Steff and Derek will give evidence concerning this issue.

219. Mr Willis just didn’t comprehend my points, or has chosen to ignore the issues and points I have raised. I accept that it can be necessary for Line Managers to change and that generally employees cannot ‘nominate who they want to report to or do not want to report to’. However, he has missed the point. There was a PROPOSAL that my contract would change and I would report to JW. It was not a DECISION as far as I was concerned; it was an offer, which I did not accept. What has been totally misunderstood by the Council management is that this suggestion was first made BEFORE my grievance against JW had been heard. No one seems to have understood that I was being offered a job where I would report to the person I had a MAJOR issue with – or if they have understood it, they have ignored it as some kind of punishment for trying to stand up for myself.

220. Dale Willis says my grievance is related to the fact that I “simply cannot report to the person that I feel I should report to”. That is NOT the point. The point is that I should not report to the person I FEEL bullied by. All the managers, every single one of them involved in this with the sole exception of Stephanie Hudson, have missed this point or have chosen to ignore it. How can they miss it when it is so obvious? Good managers manage, bad managers bully. Very few people, when put to the test, have the integrity and moral courage to stand up against bullying. That is why certain managers chose to ignore I was being bullied, they preferred to act as sheep rather than human beings.

221. How can they fail to see I was being bullied, when Stephanie Hudson saw it as long ago as February 2007 and told JW that she was bullying me? She even told Andy Hull that she feared for my mental health so much that she thought I was a suicide risk. She actually told him that. How can they STILL miss the point? It can only be because they chose to. There can be no other explanation. I am on anti-depressants because they failed in their duty of care to me. They wanted to protect JW. The bully is often able to bewitch emotionally needy bystanders into being their easily controlled spokespersons / advocates / supporters / deniers. This is exactly what has happened with JW.

222. How can Peter Elles and Dale Willis make a decision on ‘bullying and oppressive behaviour’ without even referring to a policy and procedure? Dale Willis relied heavily in his letter on references to policies and procedures. Why did he not look at a bullying and harassment policy and procedure? This does not make sense. How can Peter Elles and Dale Willis possibly make a decision on a grievance headed ‘bullying and oppressive behaviour’ without even TRYING to define bullying. I find this very hard to accept.

223. I don’t think they comprehend what exactly is entailed in bullying. It doesn’t need to be a ‘stick used to beat someone’ as Andy Hull stated. If he didn’t know what it was, how were they to know and how were they to challenge him. Andy has actually produced a very helpful document on bullying in the workplace in his job after leaving the Council. According to Andy Hull’s Health@work powerpoint presentation – see pXXX – ‘Benefits: Reduction in GP certification, More appropriate use of clinicians and therapists time. Reduced sickness absence and improved staff morale, Improved job retention and rehabilitation; Reduction in flow of IB claimants; Improved networking of and access to advice and support agencies: Engender greater understanding of the links between health and employment with employers and the wider community’.

224. I have had access to virtually none of these services, If Andy had practised what he preached I would not be here now. Either he has learnt this in his new post or he knew it at the time and failed in his duty of care to me. Either way, it is not acceptable.

225. Dale Willis calls Liverpool City Council a ‘professional’ organisation. I was not treated professionally. He couldn’t even let that idea enter his head. Dale’s mind was closed. There should have been an investigation at a much higher level. How could Dale Willis call Andy Hull into question? He would never do that and that’s why Andy Hull chose him – and the same applied with Peter Elles.

226. Dale Willis says that when I return to work my senior manager should meet with me and explain my line management structure. That is not what I required. I needed someone to say that Andy Hull and Allan Auty had allowed MASSIVE confusion to continue for MONTHS, at the expense to my health. I did not need to hear that they could keep telling me what they had been telling me for months on end.

227. I agree with Dale Willis that contracts can change. I absolutely disagree with him when he says in his letter that “it is not necessary for officers to receive a new contract of employment or conditions of employment each time this occurs”. That is just wrong. I DO have to have written confirmation of a change to my terms and conditions. That’s what contracts are for – or a letter confirming the change. Why change my contract so I answer to a bully; is this the Liverpool Way?

228. I was very disappointed and distressed by Dale Willis’s decision. Dale Willis, Peter Elles and Paul Farrell were just not prepared to put the blame on their colleagues and managers: Andy Hull and Allan Auty.

229. I replied on 24th December saying that the grievance was based on Bullying and Oppressive Behaviour but that the witnesses had not been asked about this. It made no difference see page 259B. I feel that management had no I idea how much upset, they actually caused me. Going into hospital is not a nice experience. Being harassed and bullied beforehand is oppressive behaviour. I actually said to John Kelly “I WANT JUSTICE. “ While I have breath in my body I will seek justice from the Council as the behaviour towards me has been atrocious. Every member of the Council that has allowed my treatment should hang their head in shame as they are nothing but bullies of the worst kind.

230. On 1st February 2008 I sent an email to the Chief Executive headed Bullying and Oppressive Behaviour. On 4th February Mr Cosgrove replied that no further investigation would be undertaken. I was very distressed that no-one was being held to account for the way I had been treated see 265C-E.

231. On 14th and 18th February 2008 I made further attempts to have my complaints investigated by John Kelly and Human Resources based on there being a flawed grievance investigation. It all came to nothing as they refused to look into it see p267A F. It was as though they assumed I was a troublemaker, making continuous complaints with no foundation and were sweeping the issues of bullying and harassment under the carpet. I just wanted someone to INVESTIGATE all the evidence.

232. On 4th March I emailed Human Resources making a complaint about excessive delay in receiving a response from Andy Hull to my Freedom of Information request which had not been dealt with within the required timescale.

233. On 9th and 10th March I made a number of requests under the Data Protection Act for information regarding the various grievance hearings. There has been no response to these requests. I couldn’t understand how Andy Hull and the Council could just totally ignore my complaints; this caused me additional stress and depression.

234. On 13th March 2008 a Mr Kennedy wrote to notify me that disciplinary proceedings had been commenced due to me contacting Councillors see p269A. This just showed that they didn’t understand that I was making a cry for help, in a very depressed condition. It was cruel and unnecessary to start disciplinary proceedings. All I wanted was someone to listen to my case and hear what my witnesses had to say.

235. They had decided that this was their chance to get rid of the troublemaker, after all these years. For the sake of my sanity I was not prepared to go through more of their flawed and unfair hearings so I resigned see p271.

236. Ann Gill replied on 2nd April see p272-273. Ann Gill was so stuck on procedures she wrote to me on 8th April STILL wanting to meet with me, on 21st April which was only a few days before my employment terminated see p273A. There was no point in having that meeting. This made me feel very distressed. I sought legal advice and declined to attend this meeting see p273B.

237. On 29th April Mr Kennedy wrote to me saying he would not be pursuing disciplinary action due to my resignation see p273B.

238. On 22nd July 2008 my representative submitted a grievance on my behalf claiming victimisation for raising concerns at work see p277-282B. There was no reply until 17th December, five months later see p283-286. I was distressed waiting to hear for this long; that is unacceptable.

239. I found out in May 2009 that the Council have employed an agency worker to do some of my work. This includes the complaints and referrals that I used to deal with. This person is based in Trading Standards, not Business Support. I told my representative this in an email dated 13th May 2008. If they can do this now, why couldn’t they do this for me see p345.

JOB SEEKING

240. Since my employment with Liverpool City Council ended, I have not worked. I have not been able to work. I am too depressed and upset and my GP has stated this in her report see pXXX.

241. Some days I can’t get out of bed, I feel extremely down; other days I am OK. I can’t really plan anything as I don’t know how I am going to feel. I used to be very outgoing, but now have lost a lot of energy and am hardly interested in my social life. A friend asked for the ‘old Vicky’ back, who used to laugh and joke all the time; I told her she’s dead and gone.
242. I really don’t know when I will be able to cope with work. My confidence has completely gone. I think if I ever came across a bully it would be extremely distressing and I worry about how I would be able to cope with that – by harming myself or the bully. I would never go through this again.

243. When I was in hospital in March 2007 I couldn’t stop crying. To cheer myself up I imagined some very dark thoughts about JW or in fact taking my own life and doing this in front Allan Auty and screaming at him ‘you could of stopped all this’. They are quite dark and scary thoughts, even though I am on anti-depressant medication.

244. As my GP says in her report, I will know more about my ability to cope when this is all over but I have no idea how long it will take me to recover and be able to get on with my life.

245. To think that Allan Auty and Andy Hull could have stopped this happening makes me feel sick. If they had allowed Stephanie Hudson to be my Line Manager and to manage my sickness, I would still be working there now.

Signed ……………………………………. Dated 5th May 2009
Vicky Gray

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Steven.
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Joined: 27-06-06
Aug 13 2009 23:07

I think if I'd been representing you I would have advised you to sign the compromise agreement. The courts take a dim view of you if you turn down a settlement, and they are strongly biased towards the employers in any case. So I'm sorry

Vicky
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Joined: 7-11-08
Aug 15 2009 19:21

I was not interested in the money. My legal advocate knew exactly how I felt. They could of offered me a million pounds and I would of told them politely to stick it. The whole reason I did what I did was that they did not treat anyone else the way they treated me. They will probably will still bully people. I think the council will think twice before they try and change someone's contract before the outcome of a grievance. To answer directly to the person they have taken a grievance out against and quote their precious procedures. That's just my opinion. (Say that so they don't sue me)

Head of service produced this: http://www.energynetworks.org/spring/SHE/pdfs/SHE2008/presentations/Andy_Hull_Jacky_Crowley_Session_3_Rehabilitation.pdf

tinyurl.com/pss8dt tinyurl.com/orkoem tinyurl.com/pvzk7u

idybel@hotmail.com
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Joined: 11-02-15
Feb 11 2015 00:29

Hello

I am appealing against Employment Tribunal decision (very recent). The case ( Disability Discrimination and Victimisation) was between me and Liverpool City Council. It was dismissed after a reserved decision. The descriptive reasoning was very biased.

The LCC denied by lies. For those who know LCC, know very well how they operate, they use their status to bully others and keep everything in closed circle (Freemasons).

I have kept two privileged evidence Video and documents

I am appealing by myself without any legal representation.

Any advice help are very welcome.