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Equality North East

Female employees known as ‘birds’ at ‘laddish’ council, tribunal hears

Senior officer claims unfair dismissal and discrimination, and says chief executive gave ‘Nazi-style salute’

Male employees referred to women as ‘birds’ and labelled one female colleague a ‘fatty’ as a “laddish, locker-room culture” took hold at a large council, an employment tribunal has heard.

Karen Whitmore, a former senior officer at Middlesbrough Council, is claiming unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination at the tribunal. She linked the issues to the appointment in 2014 of a new chief executive, Mike Robinson, who she said introduced the more ‘laddish’ culture.

Whitmore claimed she was bullied by current chief executive Tony Parkinson and undermined by Robinson – who has since retired – and said her concerns and complaints were ignored by the mayor, David Budd.

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April 11, 2017

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