Scots charity worker given two-year warning after belittling colleagues’ comma use

A Scottish veterans charity worker subjected colleagues to a “pattern” of belittling and bullying behavior over the course of ten years.

Rosemary McLaughlin, a former outreach manager for Sight Scotland Veterans, pulled a colleague up in the middle of a team meeting to denigrate her comma usage.

She also hauled the staffer into another interview at the charity’s former base in Edinburgh’s Gillespie Crescent to slate spelling mistakes she had made in reports.

When that colleague was later signed off from work with stress, McLaughlin told her to change the reason for her absence on a return to work form.

McLaughlin worked at the charity when it was based in Edinburgh

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has marked her registration with a two year warning for a “pattern” of bullying and misconduct stretching out over a decade.

It heard evidence McLaughlin picked on a number of colleagues, often belittling them to their face or in front of other charity workers.

On one occasion, she left a voicemail on the phone of a second worker making fun of his profile picture on a work account.

The message was intended for someone else.

And in the presence of the same employee – for whom she was directly responsible – she told another colleague: “Why have a dog and bark yourself?”

The SSSC said the worker had been left feeling “unsupported and bullied” as a result of her behavior – spelled out across nine separate allegations from 2019.

McLaughlin’s behavior didn’t just affect her colleagues.

The charity boss also delayed or ignored co-workers’ requests for financial funding for the blind veterans they worked with, delaying access to essential support.

She also dumped four years of appraisals on a third junior in one go – and wrote in a later report that he was late in filing paperwork, when the delays were down to her signing it off.

Watchdogs said she had caused “emotional harm” to staff who “should have been able to rely on” her as their manager for support.

In a written summary, the SSSC said: “The behavior had an impact on service users as it resulted in delays to them receiving equipment they had asked for and required.

“The behavior also negatively impacted your colleagues as they felt disrespected by you, belittled and bullied.

“While on their own the allegations aren’t at the most serious end of the scale it is the ten-year period that causes concern and leads to a finding of misconduct.”

McLaughlin was not given a tougher sanction of suspension or being struck off, the regulator said, because “numerous positive references” were provided on her behalf, and because she cooperated with its investigation.

She is understood to have left SSV – formerly known as Scottish War Blinded – in 2020, and did not dispute the allegations when they were presented to her by the watchdog.

McLaughlin and Scottish Sight Veterans were contacted for comment.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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