Whistleblower fired for reporting drug use and health and safety failings wins payout
A whistleblower fired after reporting drug abuse and health and safety failings at a construction project has been awarded tens of thousands of pounds in lost earnings for wrongful dismissal, The Press and Journal reports.
Roger Hammond, 47, was site manager at energy company Vattenfall’s Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm (AOWF) substation before he was sacked.
Mr Hammond had claimed he angered his bosses by referring them to an incident which saw the site’s health and safety officer, Janette Fullerton-Draper, allow an 11-year-old to drive a digger on site while contractor JM Murphy’s regional manager, Robert Young, held the side of the vehicle.
To make matters worse with his bosses, he reported his JMS colleagues filming themselves taking cocaine on a night out.
Vattenfall, however, argued Mr Hammond’s dismissal was a result of his incompetence and “personality difficulties” with colleagues, especially Ms Fullerton-Draper.
Adam Ezzamel, wind farm project manager, said the situation had been exacerbated by allegations from her that she had been sexually harassed.
But in its judgment the panel said Mr Hammond was the victim of “character assassination” and that the company’s evidence was “riddled with inconsistencies”.
Both the sexual harassment claims and the firm’s reasons for sacking Mr Hammond went unsupported, with judges saying the firm offered a “surprising lack of documentation” for his dismissal.
Mr Hammond said: “I was fortunate the panel could see through the deception.”
Vattenfall said it was “extremely disappointed” with the outcome of the case and that it would attempt to find what “lessons can be learned”.