Friday, 25th July 2014

Former town clerk was ‘victimised and bullied’

A BRIDGNORTH Town Council clerk quit her top job after being “harassed, victimised and bullied”, an employment tribunal heard.

Rachel Humphries also claimed at Monday’s Birmingham hearing that moves to get her suspended began the day after she announced she was taking a grievance against the town council and was pregnant.

Mrs Humphries, of Coalbrookdale, who was town clerk at Bridgnorth from June 2008 until she resigned in December 2010, is claiming the authority and a group of councillors sexually discriminated against her.

Miss Sheena Parry, representing Mrs Humphries, also told the hearing yesterday: “We have always pleaded that she was harrassed, victimised and bullied.”

The employment tribunal, which began last month and resumed yesterday after being adjourned over Christmas, has heard that part of Mrs Humphries’s grievance against the council was not upheld and she was subsequently made the subject of disciplinary proceedings over allegations of gross misconduct.

The disciplinary investigation was made by then locum town clerk John Ward who gave evidence to the tribunal last month but died just days after being taken ill with chest pains when he arrived to hear the case continue.

Miss Parry applied for yesterday’s hearing to be adjourned for a week as she said her cross examination of Mr Ward was to have been a key part of her client’s case.

Miss Parry queried Mr Ward’s investigation and his impartiality, however, and said: “It is the client’s case that the investigation of both the grievance and the disciplinary matter was biased and unequitable.”

She further claimed the way the details of Mr Ward’s investigation were presented to Peter Thompson, a solicitor called in to independently rule on the disciplinary hearing, was flawed.

The tribunal continues.