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Woman 'taped to chair' will appeal lost bid for damages

A tribunal did not uphold Marine Scotland worker DeeAnn Fitzpatrick's complaint.

A Scottish Government agency worker who claimed she was subjected to a campaign of harassment by colleagues has said she hopes to appeal her case after losing an employment tribunal.

The tribunal informed DeeAnn Fitzpatrick this week her complaint, in which she said she sexually harassed and bullied while working at Marine Scotland, would not be upheld.

The 49-year-old Canadian national was seeking up to £42,000 in damages but key evidence in the case was "time-barred" and could not be considered.

An image of Ms Fitzpatrick taped to a chair and gagged first surfaced in May and was seen around the world, leading Nicola Sturgeon to vow an official review into the incident.

Speaking to STV News, Ms Fitzpatrick told how the picture still "horrifies" her when she sees it.

She said: "It's caused me to have nightmares, I don't sleep.

"I only go out of the house when I have to - an appointment or to get groceries - but other than that I don't go anywhere.

"Seeing that picture horrifies me.

"It brings back everything that was done to me."

https://stv.tv/news/north/1418689-woman-tied-to-chair-by-colleagues-contacted-dignitas/ | default

However, the accusation it was carried out by male colleagues at Marine Scotland's compliance office in Scrabster, Caithness, was rejected by the tribunal as it allegedly occurred more than three years before her complaint.

It was said to have part of a campaign of abuse which allegedly took place between 2015 and 2017 while Ms Fitzpatrick was based at the office.

"There was a lot more done to me and nothing was done about it," she said.

Ms Fitzpatrick claimed the bullying took place because she had acted as a "whistleblower" in defending another female employee from harassment.

The 49-year-old also said she was sent intimidating anonymous cards, targeted with sexual harassment and bullied over her age.

Two men named in the complaint denied sending the cards. Neither were required to give evidence of their handwriting at the tribunal.

https://stv.tv/news/north/1427373-woman-tied-to-chair-at-work-unsuccessful-in-bid-for-damages/ | default

Following the decision not to uphold her complaint, Ms Fitzpatrick is adamant she will continue pursuing the case.

"Most definitely I will be taking it further, yes," she said.

"We're not going to stop here because this is a big, big problem of bullying within the workplace and harassment and victimisation."

Ms Fitzpatrick has worked for Marine Scotland, which oversees work in the country's seas, since 2006.

She is currently on special leave but said she hopes to eventually return to work.

She told STV: "I want Marine Scotland Compliance to be the place where people are proud to work as I was when I first walked through the doors.

"I want myself and others to be able to go to work, do their job, and to be treated fairly and with respect."

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