A FORMER Galashiels charity boss is embroiled in a bitter dispute over a claim that he was “sacked on the spot”.

Brothers of Charity Services (Scotland) is based at Triest House in Bridge Street.

It provides support for individuals with learning disabilities and significant health needs.

Until November last year, Gary McManus was the charity’s chief operating officer.

An employment tribunal (ET) hearing heard that his contract was terminated only days after he voiced concerns about several aspects of the charity’s operations at a Teams meeting with the Care Inspectorate’s Lynne Hepburn.

But the hearing heard that management at Brothers of Charity (BOC) denied any link between McManus talking to Hepburn and his sacking. Instead, he had been told to leave his executive post because of “issues in the working relationship” between him and BOC.

Stuart Neilson, an ET judge, has rejected McManus’s application for so-called interim relief to preserve his employment status until the tribunal has decided a claim for unfair dismissal.

But the written judgement explains that this decision is purely in the context of the application and has no bearing upon any final decision in the case, when the tribunal and the parties will have had the benefit of hearing oral testimony, with appropriate cross examination, and consideration of all relevant documentary evidence.

McManus was employed by the charity from March 2022 until November 2023. The claimant alleges that he was unfairly dismissed and that the principal reason was due to the disclosures that he made to the Care Inspectorate.

McManus alleged that he made these disclosures as he wanted to reset the relationship between the respondent and the care watchdog and to demonstrate transparency and ownership of issues. This followed a Care Inspectorate report into BOC in the summer of 2023 that had given the respondent a “weak” rating.

As a consequence of making these disclosures the claimant alleged that he was called to a Teams meeting in November with the chief executive Jane Moore and the head of HR, Fiona MacDonald. At that meeting he was notified that his employment was terminated with immediate effect.

McManus says the dismissal was pre-determined, that he was given no opportunity to answer any of the allegations and that there was no fair process and no right of appeal.

Daniel Gorry, a solicitor representing BOC, told the tribunal the respondent was unaware of the content of the discussions on the call between McManus and Hepburn but had been advised by the manager at the Care Inspectorate that the claimant complained about the managers within the social work department of the respondent’s funder, Scottish Borders Council.

Gorry highlighted that there were issues in the working relationship between the claimant and the respondent.

He drew attention to a breakdown in the relationship between MacDonald and the claimant from September 2023 and concerns the CEO had about “unprofessional” e-mails from the claimant.

Gorry submitted that all of this culminated in the CEO speaking to the chair of the board, Brother John O’Shea, in November to discuss the continued employment of the claimant.

They agreed to seek legal advice and a decision was made to terminate the claimant’s employment.