The Vaughan v London Borough of Lewisham cases involves legal actions in the Employment Tribunal and High Court, on the grounds of discrimination, whistleblowing detriment, unfair dismissal, defamation, human rights breaches.
It will become clear after reading about the circumstances of my employment with Lewisham Council, why my decision to take the precaution of making covert recordings my interactions with management was necessary and indeed justified.
Please also refer to the ‘Catalogue of Lies’ section.
The background to the legal actions includes the following (extracts taken from my Employment Tribunal pleadings):
- On 1 April 2011: Babcock (my former employer) and Lewisham Council failed to inform me in advance that I had been selected by the Council for transfer. I found out that I had been TUPE’d on 1 April 2011 purely by chance.
- The circumstances involving this were also very humiliating. I had not been consulted by either Babcock or Lewisham Council about being selected for transfer (TUPE). I was never contacted by Amanda Duckett (Babcock regional manager at the time) or anyone else from Babcock to advise me that I was being transferred.
- On 9 April 2011: I received a letter from London Borough of Lewisham stating that there had been a mistake and I was not employed by Lewisham. The envelope that it came in was postmarked 7 April 2011. Lewisham Council would later inform me that I was sent the letter by mistake, however I was not advised of this at the time and no apology was given until more than 2 weeks after I received the letter.
- On 17 April 2011: I made a protected disclosure. I e-mailed Valerie Gonsalves a detailed outline of all my concerns. Within the context of my e-mail I raised serious concerns about Nick French and a breach of rules or law; (TUPE, ES9s and the use of public funds to promote discriminatory practices); improper or unethical conduct; a possible maladministration; misuse of public money and systemic failure, in relation to children and young people and/or the services they receive) and danger to health and safety; (e.g. a danger to the health and safety of any individual- myself).
- On 21 April 2011: I made another protected disclosure to Chris Threlfall via e-mail. I also copied in Unison. This protected disclosure related to comments that Nick French had made publicly on the social networking site ‘Facebook’. I attached a copy of the page from ‘Facebook’ and expressed my displeasure and outlined my concerns. I later forwarded that e-mail onto Christine Grice (Head of Access & Support Services at the time).
- Later that morning a member of staff from Lewisham Council’s payroll team e-mailed me and the other transferred staff to inform us that the Payroll team would pay the transferred staff today if we wanted, but only by cash. I responded immediately (copying in Chris Threfall, Christine Grice and Unison), stating that I did not consider it safe to collect cash (around £2,000).
- I was informed that Lewisham Council would not take responsibility and/or compensate me if the money was stolen on my way to the bank. I advised the member of staff in Lewisham Council’s payroll team that the situation caused me a great deal of stress and anxiety. The response I received was very disproportionate, insensitive and sharp.
- When Lewisham Council’s senior manager Chris Threlfall communicated with me via email about the concerns that I made, he copied in various members of Lewisham Council’s legal department. This made me feel very intimidated.
- The tone of Chris Threlfall’s e-mail in my view was patronising, almost as if he was making fun of me. I was extremely upset and I responded to him clearly expressing this. I also copied in Unison and Frankie Sulke (Lewisham Council’s Executive Director). I advised Chris Threlfall that the tone of his e-mails was of great concern to me and that he was exacerbating my medical condition, rather than helping to alleviate it.
- On 26 April 2011, at 4pm I attended the meeting with Chris Threlfall and Rita Lee (Lewisham Council’s HR adviser). I was accompanied by a friend and Chris Threlfall’s PA took notes. I was particularly alarmed by a number of comments that Chris Threlfall made during the course of that meeting.
- I was informed several times by Chris Threlfall (quite aggressively) that he did not believe that I had made protected disclosures and that I had not invoked Lewisham Council’s’s Whistleblowing procedure. He also advised me that he did not intend to carry out an investigation.
- On 27 April 2011, I e-mailed Frankie Sulke, (copying in Christine Grice and Unsion), advising her that Lewisham Council had failed to deal with my protected disclosures properly and that I had been subjected to victimisation and detriments for making those protected disclosures and as such, and as such, I intended to raise my concerns outside the organisation- make a wider disclosure to a prescribed regulator.
- That afternoon I received an e-mail from Lewisham Council’s lawyer, (which I was quite intimidated by). He copied in Christine Grice, Kath Nicholson and Unison. He stated that he was responding on behalf of Frankie Sulke and that the matter has been referred to Kath Nicholson – Head of Law, to investigate and she would respond to me directly in due course.
- Later that day Chris Threlfall e-mailed me a draft copy of my Occupational Health referral and the documents that they would also be sending to Occupational Health, (this was discriminatory in nature and irrelevant). Lewisham Council failed to include a copy of the documents which were crucial and which I had asked to be included.
- The Occupational Health referral also asked if I should be re-deployed, which I objected to. I responded to the e-mail, outlining my concerns.