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Bell Island native loses claim in Scottish workplace harassment case

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick is a fisheries officer with Marine Scotland, where she has allegedly been harassed by several male colleagues over the past 10 years.
DeeAnn Fitzpatrick is a fisheries officer with Marine Scotland, where she has allegedly been harassed by several male colleagues over the past 10 years. - Contributed

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, the 49-year-old Newfoundland woman who claimed she was taped to a chair and threatened during a decade of harassment while she worked as a fisheries officer at a government agency in Scotland has failed to secure damages after taking her employer to a labour tribunal.

Fitzpatrick testified she was subjected to such constant bullying by male coworkers at the Marine Scotland office in Scrabster, Caithness, that she had experienced suicidal thoughts.

Fitzpatrick, who was working as a fisheries officer, raised a series of complaints against the government agency during a two-day employment tribunal in Aberdeen in June. Her lawyer asked that she be awarded up to £42,000 in damages.

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N.L. woman alleges harassment in Scotland

Tuesday, Fitzpatrick’s family issued a news release revealing the tribunal had not upheld her complaint.  “The Fitzpatrick family is hugely disappointed with the result of the tribunal,” it stated.

An incident that was marked in a photograph taken by a co-worker that went viral, Fitzpatrick was gagged and bound to a chair was not considered by the tribunal because it happened too long ago, the family said.

The tribunal instead focused on accusations that Fitzpatrick received “threatening” cards on her birthday and Valentine’s Day between 2015 and 2017.

Solicitor Andrew Gibson, representing Marine Scotland, argued that there was no proof that the letters had been sent by her male coworkers.

He was reported in several British newspapers as saying Fitzpatrick was “capable of making malicious allegations” and said the cards could have been sent by “disgruntled fishermen.”

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