A senior bank worker from the North East who alleges a colleague spiked her drink is claiming compensation after being told to relocate or “find another job”.
High-flying Barclays area director Miranda Mitchell won a tribunal for claims of suffering a detriment for whistle-blowing but has now suffered a setback after her employer won an appeal.
The claim goes back to 2010 when Mrs Mitchell, who was responsible for several branches in Northumberland, was bought a non-alcoholic drink by the colleague during a meeting at a hotel.
She then says she felt unwell and was violently ill.
The following morning, on her way back home to Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, she says she was urged by the man not to tell anyone what had happened, but to put her illness down to food poisoning.
Tests later revealed traces of cannabis in her system, leading Mrs Mitchell to believe she had been drugged by her colleague.
Although a police investigation did not find sufficient evidence to prosecute, officers told her the most likely person to have spiked her drink was the person who bought it for her.
Mrs Mitchell complained to her regional director and to a member of human resources, alleging drink-spiking and bullying.
It is not clear what action Barclays took.
Two years later, after Mrs Mitchell objected to attending a meeting where the man was to be, she was told to move regions or “find another job”. In her claim to an employment tribunal, Mrs Mitchell said she had been subjected to “detrimental treatment” for “whistle-blowing”.
She initially won her case against Barclays Bank Plc, but now the Employment Appeal Tribunal has allowed the bank’s appeal.
The ruling means that Mrs Mitchell’s case will now go back to the original tribunal for reconsideration.
On appeal, lawyers for Barclays Bank Plc argued that it was not Mrs Mitchell’s complaints against her colleague which led to the suggestion that she move on.
Lawyers told the appeal it was Mrs Mitchell’s later announcement that she could not be in the same room as the man which led to the comments.
Judge Peter Clark said the original tribunal had not given sufficient reasons for finding in Mrs Mitchell’s favour on that ‘causation’ issue and that that matter would have to be looked at afresh.