Former Terrence Higgins Trust chief executive was unfairly dismissed

Employment tribunal unanimously found that Rosemary Gillespie had been dismissed because of disclosures she made about former deputy chair

At an employment tribunal held last month, it was ruled that Rosemary Gillespie, former chief executive of the HIV/Aids charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, was dismissed by the board primarily because she made disclosures about the behaviour of Paul Jenkins, the former deputy chair of the charity.

The tribunal concluded that Mrs Gillespie was unfairly dismissed because she had tried to inform on the improper behaviour of a trustee at the charity, as well as other issues. The reason for her dismissal was deemed unsatisfactory and was not acceptable.

She was asked to leave her position in July 2015 but at a hearing in March, in London, Mrs Gillespie claimed she had been unfairly dismissed.

At the tribunal, it was unanimously found that Mrs Gillespie had been dismissed by the board of trustees mainly because she had exposed the behaviour of Paul Jenkins, whom she said had got drunk and attempted to kiss and place his “hand on the crotch” of a senior member of staff, after a charity fundraising auction.

Gillespie claimed that the inappropriate actions of Mr Jenkins had raised safeguarding concerns.

The former chief executive also raised concerns regarding the length of time taken and the cost of an investigation over allegations of misconduct against two senior managers, following their suspension.

It was discovered that Gillespie’s dismissal came three months after getting a ‘glowing’ e-mail from the chair of the charity, Robert Glick – he said that he wanted to: “underscore what a tremendous pleasure it has been and I know will continue to be, to work with you”.

Mr Glick went on to say how the pair of them were on the way to developing an outstanding partnership and: “I couldn’t be more excited about working with you at the helm, as we take the leap into the next stage of this great charity’s work”.

At the tribunal however, Mr Glick claimed that at the time of sending the e-mail, he had serious doubts about Gillespie’s performance and that the e-mail was sent to help boost her confidence. The claim was rejected by the three-man panel.

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