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HR boss took ‘no action’ against sexual allegations

Allegations of sexual harassment by a member of the HR team at a nuclear site have come to light in an employment tribunal.

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An HR consultant has come forward at an employment tribunal, with allegations of harassment, bullying and homophobic abuse at a nuclear site.

 

HR consultant Alison McDermott alleged that the HR director at the site based in Cumbria took “no action” against a colleague who told inappropriate jokes, touched female co-workers, berated a colleague and told “tales” of sexual conquests.

 

The hearing, which took place in Leeds, was told of a report that was made anonymously through an external system called Safecall, which accused a member of the HR team of the allegations.

 

According to the Daily Mail, the report also cited that there was a “legacy of cover-up” at the Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing and decommissioning site.

 

As a result, McDermott has taken Sellafield, the firm’s HR director Heather Roberts and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to tribunal, as she claims that her contract was terminated as a result of whistleblowing.

 

David Vineall, group HR director for the NDA, who was giving evidence, stated that McDermott was “integral” to the equality, diversity and inclusion journey the business had been on.

 

He also noted that he had received a letter in October 2018 which stated: “Someone has recently raised an issue of sexual harassment regarding HR leaders and Heather has taken no action.”

 

Vineall explained that he advised the HR professional to undertake an external investigation into the allegations, however she added that they did not have the evidence.

 

He continued: “I wanted to make sure we were following the due process so I had discussions with her, she explained the approach she had taken, that she had taken advice from the legal team. I respected that and we moved on.”

 

McDermott then had her contract with the firm terminated after she penned a report which was highly critical of the HR department in October 2018.

 

During the hearing, she went on to add that she informed Paul Vallance, the communications officer at the NDA, who made comments suggesting that she was terminated to “supress wrongdoing”, however he stated that he could not recall this conversation.

 

The hearing will continue tomorrow where closing submissions will be made by the parties involved.

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