Below are extracts from the documents referred to as C1(1) and C1(3) during the Tribunal Hearing. AVOW tried to suppress these documents, claiming that they were legally privileged and could not be presented to the Tribunal as evidence. The crucial parts of these documents are as follows:
This document is the second sheet of a longer note, the first page/s of which have never been disclosed by the Respondent. Document C1(2), which was a reply to this note, revealed C1(1) to have been a letter or email sent by John Gallanders to Brenda Egan at Mentor, AVOW’s employment legal advisers, on 29 July 2008.
Confirmation of Mentor Advice
We are still of the opinion that [the claimant] by virtue of being a temporary worker with a contract that expires on 31st July 2008, and having less than 12 months continuous service within this specific contract is not subject to TUPE. Having had difficulties with employing [the claimant] in the past, and having received complaints about poor performance in her current role from Carers accessing the service, we do not feel that she has the skills and qualifications to effectively carry out a Carer Support Worker role. Through an open recruitment process it is unlikely that she would be offered an interview. [claimant comment: John Gallanders was unable to back any of this up with evidence at the Hearing. See Tribunal’s Written Reasons for more on this].
This was an email sent by John Gallanders, again to Brenda Egan at Mentor, on 19 September 2008, just before midnight. It was copied to Deputy Chief Officer at AVOW, Rachel Ross.
Following on from your discussion re [the claimant] and access to her medical records. Does this include access to any optician reports–if her issue about migraines-she says it is lighting but there has never been any indication that this could actually be to do with the use of a computer. We have a policy here that anyone working on a computer is offered eye testing. If we are trying to now be awkward to her by asking for the medical reports can we actually insist on her going for a VDU workplace eye test whilst she is still on the sick.
We also would require a CRB for the position she is supposed to be doing
-are we ok to start this process of getting the correct id etc from her. It might be a long shot but there may be something that shows up in this which may indicate she is unstable for the job.
Other contested documents
C1 (4 & 5)
This was a draft letter sent by Mentor to Rachel Ross on 14 October 2008 following discussions between Rachel and Karen Moglia at Mentor.
Rachel later sent a version of the letter to the Claimant by way of grievance outcome (grievance over lighting). Rachel Ross had not been at the grievance hearing, but the letter was written in the first person and sent in her name. She admitted at the Tribunal that she did not have the authority to determine the grievance outcome and was unable to explain why she had done so.
C1 (6 & 7)
This was an email from John Gallanders to Sky Bibi at Mentor, copied to new Chair of Trustees Mervyn Rosenberg.
It addresses a number of issues and includes the following (Claimant’s commentary in square brackets).
[The Claimant] also at one of the Grievance meeting refused to even go into the office to ‘sample’ the lighting conditions – this is despite her bringing her own table lamps which she would not use.
[John Gallanders was not at this meeting and misrepresents what happened. See posts on the Tribunal Ruling and Disability Discrimination Aspects for more information about what actually happened and the Tribunal’s findings].
On whistle blowing:
The ethos of the organisation is that we operate an open door policy to both senior management and trustees and any staff member with any form of concern is fully aware of the ease in which they can access relevant people to highlight issues.
[The claimant’s experience was that it was next-to-impossible to access trustees and where this was managed, trustees failed to deal with the issues raised, including serious ones like a grievance about the Chief Officer. While the claimant was still employed at AVOW, all avenues of access to trustees were closed and she was told that all correspondence must go via the Chief Officer, about whom she had raised a grievance].
This was an email from Gavin Booth at Mentor to John Gallanders, dated 17 February 2009 and includes the following:
I think that the best thing to do is put yourself in a position to answer [the claimant]’s grievance (and don’t wait for any reply) and then invite her to attend a disciplinary meeting. I am trying to put you in a position where you can sack her.
C1 (9 & 10)
This is an email from John Gallanders to Gavin Booth dated 19 February 2009, referring to
the dismissal route suggested by Gavin
and a previous email from John Gallanders to Sky Bibi at Mentor, dated 15 February 2009, which states:
Please find below latest correspondence from [the claimant]. As you will note [the claimant] is not wishing for myself to be involved with any correspondence to her even though the last letter from the Chairman (which you have on file) clearly states that he does not wish to engage in correspondence with her over operational matters. It is not the Trustees responsibility to be involved in the provision of policies etc which are operational and any staff member is able to have acccess to.
[This conveniently omits to mention the claimant’s outstanding and unaddressed grievance against John Gallanders. The claimant had said that she did not wish to have further contact with him until this matter was addressed].
A copied email at bottom of the second of these pages reveals that Chair of Trustees Mervyn Rosenberg forwarded the claimant’s letter of 11 February 2009 to John Gallanders; this clarifies the claimant’s position:
As I have explained previously, I do not wish to have postal or email correspondence, telephone calls or face to face meetings with senior officers at AVOW, including John Gallanders, until matters I have raised which concern the behaviour of senior officers towards me have been resolved.
The Trustees continued to ignore these requests to the end and never did deal with the outstanding matters.