A FORMER council boss has been awarded £94,000 by a judge following an employment tribunal

Karen Whitmore, ex-assistant director of organisation and governance at Middlesbrough Council, had originally claimed £723,827 on the grounds that she would suffer a loss of potential earnings for ten years up until retirement.

In July, Mrs Whitmore’s claims of victimisation and unfair dismissal were upheld, judges said they did not find enough evidence that she lost her job because she had blown the whistle, or that she was a victim of harassment.

On Thursday, Judge JM Wade said the council’s actions, in escorting Mrs Whitmore from the council premises when she was put on home leave, had ended a career that was “previously unblemished and ascendant”.

She awarded £77,265 – the statutory limit – for unfair dismissal and £15,000 in damages for injury to feelings after Mrs Whitmore was unceremoniously escorted out of her office in January 2016. She was also awarded £2,000 in interest.

Following the hearing, Mrs Whitmore said: “This case was not just about the money, although it has cost me.

“It was about justice and the tribunal recognising that I was unfairly dismissed and victimised, which they have done and I am grateful for their careful attention and fair approach.”

Responding to the judgement, Middlesbrough Council chief executive, Tony Parkinson, accepted mistakes had been made by the local authority.

He said: "Employment Tribunals exist because employers sometimes get it wrong.

“However, these proceedings were characterised from the outset by lurid allegations designed to grab headlines and paint this authority and its officers in the worst possible light.

“A picture was created of this organisation which I simply do not recognise, while the vilification of individual officers and members is utterly unacceptable.

“The Tribunal was asked to believe in a culture of corruption and malpractice, while no evidence whatsoever to support this was put forward.

“Since the restructure that resulted in this Tribunal – a restructure that the Tribunal itself recognised as the right way forward – we have made great strides in dealing with many of the issues that necessitated the review in the first place.

“We accept the Tribunal’s findings, and will now draw a line under the matter as we continue to drive Middlesbrough forward in what promises to be one of the most exciting periods in its history.”