Mind charity worker, 49, was bullied out of her job after reporting colleagues for mocking a disabled woman and insulting the mentally ill, tribunal rules
- Catriona Robinson was left in floods of tears when she witnessed a co-worker doing an offensive impression of a physically disabled woman
- When Miss Robinson complained, she was ‘isolated and marginalised’ and became the victim of ‘blatant bullying,’ an employment tribunal heard
- The tribunal upheld her claim for unfair dismissal from the mental health charity Mind and a future hearing will set compensation
A charity worker was bullied out of her job after reporting colleagues for mocking a disabled woman and insulting the mentally ill, a tribunal has ruled.
Catriona Robinson, 49, was left in floods of tears when she witnessed a co-worker doing an offensive impression of a physically disabled woman.
She was also appalled when other staff branded those using the services of the mental health charity Mind as ‘druggy bums’ and ‘wastes of space’.
But when Miss Robinson complained, she was ‘isolated and marginalised’ and became the victim of ‘blatant bullying,’ an employment tribunal heard.
She later resigned, saying she had no choice. ‘I witnessed foul language daily and prolonged raucous laughter,’ said Miss Robinson.
Catriona Robinson, a worker at a mental health charity was unfairly dismissed for whistleblowing – after she complained about colleagues insulting disabled people
‘Some discussion or behaviour was markedly unprofessional, with the inclusion of management.
‘Conversations included referring to clients by nicknames, scoffing and laughing at their behaviours.
‘Long discussions were held about clients having lied about their condition or diagnosis, articulating there had been ‘nothing wrong with them’ and their being druggy bums and wastes of space.
‘Staff commented that clients were awarded more in benefits than they received in wages.’
In August 2016, Miss Robinson was shocked when workers including managers at the office in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales, laughed at a colleague imitating a person with disabilities.
‘I was very distressed,’ she said. ‘I walked out to the staff kitchen, where I cried.’
Miss Robinson did not make a formal complaint but reported the behaviour to her manager.
After this, she said, the atmosphere changed in the office where she was a community outreach officer from February 2016 to December 2017.
‘I was desperately lonely, sad, isolated and each day I faced passive aggressive abuse and sometimes blatant bullying,’ she told the hearing in Cardiff.
There was also often racially and sexually offensive language in the office, said Miss Robinson.
Other staff claimed it was ‘gallows humour’.
But the tribunal upheld her claim for unfair dismissal and a future hearing will set compensation.
A Mind spokesman said the charity was ‘appalled’ at the behaviour and has made changes after an inquiry.