A human resources professional is appealing the judgement of an employment tribunal that determined she was not a whistle-blower.

Alison McDermott, 56, was hired by Sellafield Limited after working for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) for two years.

A recognised “national expert” in equality, diversity and inclusion, she was asked to look at those issues.

Under cross examination in the recent hearing, three leaders of the NDA confirmed that Ms. McDermott's work on equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) was excellent.

She made a report that alleged there was "vile homophobic abuse, sexual harassment and bullying" at the workplace.

Following the report, she was fired.

Sellafield said to Alison that they fired her for financial reasons, but later admitted in an Employment Tribunal that they fired her because of her report, which they said was 'questionable and insubstantial'.

In the tribunal, Alison made a claim that she was a whistle-blower, but the tribunal's decision was that she was not, and there was no “causal link” between her report and the termination of her contract.

Alison said on the reason behind her appeal of this decision: "I'm appealing the judgement because Sellafield admit they lied to me in telling me they ended my contract for financial reasons, and then admitted they did it for other reasons, but this doesn’t answer why they misled the governing body (the NDA) on three separate occasions."

The NDA was suspicious of the reasoning behind the firing being financial reasons, and so investigated, and contacted senior executives from Sellafield, including Andrew Carr, Sellafield’s Head of Legal, who all confirmed it was for financial reasons, despite this being an admitted lie later in the tribunal.

This was believed, and therefore no investigation into the termination was immediately necessary.

Alison continued: "Their determination to pursue me, for 40,000 pounds, I find staggering because they seem to be unaware of how vicious and irresponsible this makes them look, and it sends a chilling message to other Sellafield employees that they can’t speak out without being pursued for costs.

"Given the hazardous nature of the work, any measure that makes people scared to speak out is unacceptable.

"I think the leaders behind these cost threats should hang their heads in shame."

Terje Schea, Alison's husband, said: "Aside from the grinding anxiety their cost threats are causing us, their actions send a chilling message to Sellafield staff not to speak out.

"It is incredible that their determination to pursue Alison at all costs outweighs all other considerations.

"Are they immune to how vicious this makes them look?"

Alison said she is launching a crowd-fund to help cover cost threats, so she can continue with her appeal, soon.

Alison has spoken previously on the subject of money related to the case, saying: "There have been many times when it would have been so easy to pack it all in and walk away, I have been portrayed as a gold-digger, but it has never been about the money.

"The proof of this is that the NDA offered me £160,000 a few days before the hearing to settle the case, but I was not prepared to do that as the offer came with conditions which would have prevented me from speaking out about my concerns, my silence is not for sale."

A spokesperson from Sellafield said: "These issues are subject to ongoing legal proceedings.

"We cannot comment further at this stage."