A FORMER Sellafield worker who claims she was sacked to silence bullying allegations at the nuclear plant is mounting a legal battle against the company.

Diversity and inclusion consultant Alison McDermott is crowdfunding to pay for legal fees after she lodged a whistleblowing and victimisation case to the Employment Tribunal.

Her appeal on Crowd Justice has already raised more than £6,000.

She has launched the crowdfunding page to explain her case and fund her legal fight.

“Sellafield abruptly terminated my contract after I raised serious concerns about the abuse of employees working there and leaders’ failure to investigate or take action,” she says on her crowdfunding website entry.

Earlier this year, the News & Star revealed bullying claims at the nuclear site had forced bosses to launch a campaign to clamp down on the malpractice.

Sellafield Ltd had commissioned an equality, diversity, and inclusion survey in autumn 2017 which revealed a quarter of its workforce believes bullying is tolerated at the site.

The data was circulated to employees via the firm’s intranet. But despite receiving the results in the first quarter of 2018, it wasn’t until earlier this year that a campaign was launched to put a lid on the misconduct.

Ms McDermott added: “The potential dangers on the Sellafield nuclear site are obvious; an estimated 40 per cent of the world’s plutonium is stored there and a major incident would contaminate large parts of Northern Europe. It is of particular importance that a safe and secure environment is maintained. As I discovered while working there, Sellafield is characterised by a deep-rooted toxic working culture with numerous reports of bullying, harassment and discrimination.

“The CEO admitted to being ashamed and embarrassed by these findings yet the current state of Sellafield is the direct result of the decisions made by those in charge.

“In addition to the survey data, employees shared vivid stories of harassment, discrimination and bullying with me. Many said they felt too defeated or intimidated to speak out. I spoke out on their behalf and, in response, my long-term contract was abruptly terminated.

“I believe that Sellafield’s retaliation sends a powerful and frightening message to its employees – don’t blow the whistle or speak out or there will be reprisals.”

Ms McDermott further claimed that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said they would investigate her concerns, but had failed to do so.

The NDA said it would be inappropriate to comment on a case subject to legal proceedings.

A spokesman added: “We’re committed to creating a culture of respect and inclusion for all employees across the NDA group, where everyone can perform at their best.

“Our commitment to respect and inclusion is at the heart of our equality, diversity and inclusion programme, launched following an NDA-commissioned employee survey which highlighted areas where our organisation needed to change.

“We have a zero-tolerance stance on inappropriate behaviour in the workplace and encourage people to call it out whenever they see it.”

A Sellafield Ltd spokesman said: “Safety and security are our overriding priorities.

“Our site is the largest industrial facility in the UK.

“Like most large employers, we have experienced allegations of bullying, harassment and discrimination in our workforce. We do not tolerate this behaviour. We take equality, diversity, and inclusion extremely seriously.

“That’s why we commissioned a survey in 2017 to understand our employees’ concerns.

“What we found was disappointing and we’ve been very open about that. However, these results did not show a negative impact on site safety.

“We’ve since drawn up an action plan which we’re delivering with our owners, employees, and unions.

“Talking about these issues is the first step to dealing with them. That’s why we publicised the results of the survey at the time and why we’re continuing to be transparent about how we address them.

“We won’t shy away from being honest about our business – even when it’s difficult – because that’s the only way we’ll achieve the cultural change we want.”

Ms McDermott is crowdfunding via: www.crowdjustice.com/case/helpsellafieldwhistleblower