At a government meeting on Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was “absolutely horrified” by the picture. She said that racism and sexism had no place in government and that she had ordered a full review of the case.
Monica Lennon, a Labour Party member of the Scottish Parliament, said on Twitter: “This is not ‘office banter’ or ‘boys being boys.’ It’s abuse. Women being degraded and bullied in the workplace, or anywhere else, is vile and unacceptable but it’s too often explained away or covered up.”
Rhoda Grant, a Labour M.S.P. for the Highlands and Islands, said in a email that she had been fighting “for the best part of a decade” to bring attention to Ms. Fitzpatrick’s case, “but have had nothing but a brick wall from the Scottish government.” She said, “It is a shame it took a shocking photo having to be revealed before they were willing to listen and take action.”
She added, “The endemic nature of the misogyny and racism in DeeAnn’s workplace is especially personally demoralizing, both to DeeAnn, who has been living with this for so long, her work colleagues who have also been subject to abuse, but also to myself — this is 2018, and this kind of bullying should have been defeated a long time ago.”
Lynn Henderson, the Scotland officer for the Public and Commercial Services Union, said in an email: “When an employer turns a blind eye to appalling treatment of women at work, it’s not just an act of indifference. Ignoring the problem or sweeping it away is an act of complicity.”
Ms. Fitzpatrick has been on leave from the fisheries watchdog since November 2016, after her father died, according to local news media reports. If her claim is found to have merit, the judge is expected to issue his judgment, including any recommendation for compensation, said Mr. Briggs, who added, “It’ll take as long as it takes.”
In the meantime, she faces a disciplinary internal hearing by her employer. The charges: being “overzealous” in inspecting fish catches and being rude to clients. The hearing was to be held at the end of May, but since the case spilled into the open again, has been postponed until next month.