A civil servant who was sacked over a claim she lied about a photo of her gagged and bound to a chair has lost her £500,000 compensation claim for unfair dismissal after a tribunal ruled it It was mere ‘high jinks.

After DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, a Marine Scotland employee claimed that she was made to endure an ordeal because she exposed abusive and misogynist behavior in her office, the image became viral.

In a BBC interview, the Senior Fishery Officer stated that tape had been placed on her mouth in order to “shut her down” as she spoke out about boys.

Later, Ms. Fitzpatrick was fired by her bosses for lying about the time of the photograph being taken. She could then claim that it was punishment because she whistle-blew.

She then attempted to sue her employer for £500,000.

A tribunal has ruled in favor of Ms. Fitzpatrick, who claimed unfair dismissal because the photo showed ‘high jinks.’ The two men who tied Fitzpatrick up were merely playing a game.

The 52-year old woman stated that she was “extremely disappointed” by the outcome. However, she said that she will take consolation from the Tribunal, which acknowledged her inability to accept such behavior.

The image of Marine Scotland worker DeeAnn Fitzpatrick went viral in 2018 after she claimed she was subjected to the ordeal for blowing the whistle on abusive and misogynist behaviour in the office

After DeeAnn Fitzpatrick, a Marine Scotland employee claimed that she was made to endure an ordeal because she blew the whistle about abusive and misogynist behavior in her office, the image became viral. 

Bosses later fired Ms Fitzpatrick for lying about when the photo was taken so she could claim it was punishment for her whistle blowing complaint

The Bosses fired Fitzpatrick later for lying about taking the picture, so that she could claim it as punishment for her whistle blowing complaint 

You can read the entire judgment 

“We closely examined the image. This isn’t a conclusive statement.

It is difficult to determine, at least not for the Tribunal, whether this was done under duress or in full or partial participation of the claimant.

“The tape around the mouth is nonetheless particularly alarming. This photograph doesn’t look as high-jinks, as this term is usually understood.

High jinks would not be a term that one would use for an event at a government agency charged with the enforcement of law. There are dangers to using this term.

It can be used to cover conduct where everyone plays an equal role and has the same enjoyment, or conduct that is discriminatory and perceived as harassment by the receiver.

It is similar to ‘banter’ which can be used to describe a harmless joke but is also used as a cover for racist language.

The Tribunal doesn’t consider this to be high-jinks acceptable, even if they are acceptable at a government office.

“The claimant is shown in the photograph with sinister elements, including tape placed around his mouth.

According to the tribunal, Ms. Fitzpatrick was employed in Scrabster Office of Marine Scotland on the northern coast of Scotland. This office is responsible for the enforcement of fishing law.

At the hearing, she said that she was victim to bullying at her office. The tribunal called it ‘dysfunctional’ with a culture of puerile and pranks.

According to workers, they melted ice on each other’s clothing and taped someone asleep in their chair. They also taped another person’s beard, put tape over the head of another staff member, placed tape over the face of someone else, then poured shredded papers over them.

2009. A photograph was taken by Ms. Fitzpatrick, taped to her chair with parcel tape. The tape went six times around her body, and one over her mouth.

She was photographed by Reid Anderson, her colleague. Jody Paske, another colleague was also in the photo. The tribunal heard.

Ms. Fitzpatrick stated that she was tied up after she filed a complaint against two male employees. One of the men had made a gesture of throwing a punch at an employee and called her a “whore”, while the other supported his behavior.

She called the office ‘feral’, and stated that she thought Mr Anderson and Mr Paske were ‘put up to restrain her from speaking out about the behavior of her male coworkers.

Ms. Fitzpatrick didn’t complain at the time but raised the matter later in 2017 as part of an Employment Tribunal claim.

Ms. Fitzpatrick, in an interview for BBC with Mark Daly 2018, stated that “Because of my making noise” one of the men told him to give him tape so he could shut down his wife.

“He put the tape on my lips and then said that he would speak out about them.”

Virtually, the tribunal heard that Ms. Fitzpatrick claimed the incident with the chair tieting occurred in December 2010, after having complained about the behaviour of her coworker in September 2010.

The tribunal determined that the photograph was taken August 2009, before the whistle-blowing complaint.

The site where Ms Fitzpatrick was pictured gagged and bound in a chair while working for the Scottish government

This is the site that Ms. Fitzpatrick was bound and gagged while she worked for the Scottish government. 

Anderson said one of the men in the chair accident was laughing and it was high jinks.

Even though the employment tribunal ruled that the incident was a prank it acknowledged the image does not depict the typical high-jinks of most people and was ‘concerning’.

Alexander Kemp, Judge of the Court, ruled that “the photograph doesn’t look like high-jinks as this term is usually understood.”

“High jinks” is not a term that one would normally associate with events occurring in government offices charged with applying the law.

“Our conclusion at the time is that [Mr Anderson and Mr Paske]They were most likely to believe it was some kind of practical joke. It did not have anything to do with disclosures.

Following an investigation by the civil services, Ms. Fitzpatrick was fired.

Judge Kemp said that although the chair incident was an absurd joke, it is not appropriate behavior for a modern workplace.

He stated that the photograph of Ms. Fitzpatrick was not accepted in modern work environments, or in 2009.

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick (pictured) claimed a decade of bullying at Marine Scotland's Scrabster office made her contemplate suicide

DeeAnn Fitzpatrick (pictured), claims that she contemplated suicide after enduring ten years of bullying from Marine Scotland’s Scrabster Office.

Although the date of the original incident is over 10 years ago, the behavior is still unacceptable in today’s workplace.

A tribunal found that Anderson was subject to ‘dreadful’ internet abuse following the publication of his image online in 2018.

In 2018, his wife wrote First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to complain about their life and Ms Fitzpatrick’s harassment.

An August 2018 police investigation was initiated into the conducts of Mr Anderson, Mr Paske. The police determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to bring about charges.

Ms. Fitzpatrick also claimed sex and age discrimination, although these claims were denied by the tribunal.

The tribunal dismissed the claim by Ms. Fitzpatrick of unfair dismissal.

Speaking afterwards, Ms Fitzpatrick said: ‘I am extremely disappointed by the outcome of this case.

The tribunal recognized that tape and parcel tape were not appropriate for the “sinister” behavior of two men attaching a woman in a chair, as well as placing it over her mouth, at the Scottish Government Office.

The tribunal found out that the photo showed some restraint was required to tap me into the chair. Both can’t be done by one man.

“I am also aware of their criticisms about the Scottish Government’s failures to gather sufficient evidence to support their dismissal.