A SENIOR council official was sacked from his £50,000-a-year post after prodding a female colleague in the breast so hard she was left with bruising.
Alan Hasson was dismissed as head of community services at Scottish Borders after prodding the woman following a “fraught” meeting.
Majorie Hutton complained that the prod was in an intimate area and felt “meant” but she added that it was not done in a sexual way.
Mr Hasson, who lost his job in 2010 following a disciplinary hearing, is now taking Scottish Borders Council to an employment tribunal, claiming sex discrimination and disability discrimination.
The 54-year-old from Innerleithen, near Peebles, attended the hearing in Edinburgh this week at which witnesses for the council spoke about the June 2010 incident at an away meeting in Hawick.
The council’s head of social work, Andrew Lowe, confirmed that Mr Hasson had been sacked despite his “unblemished” career.
Mr Lowe, who chaired the disciplinary hearing on behalf of the council, said: “The decision was taken by me. I don’t know Alan Hasson that well, we live in the same town and we occasionally shared transport.
“Alan Hasson prodded Marjorie in the upper body with his fingers.”
A statement from Ms Hutton was read out in which she stated: “The prod contacted me 1/3 of the way down my breast, below the top.
“It was not done in a sexual way but, yes, in an intimate area.”
The community learning and development manager added: “It felt meant but did not want to hurt me, I don’t think.”
Continuing his evidence, Mr Lowe said: “He [Mr Hasson] did not apologise, he did not seem to accept what he did wrong.
“At the disciplinary hearing he said, ‘I don’t see what all the fuss is about.’”
But Mr Lowe told the hearing: “He prodded someone of the opposite sex in an intimate area.
“He is big, she is small, he is male, she is female and he is senior.”
He added: “I was very concerned that I had before me a senior colleague with an unblemished record and another colleague who was blameless and had to take appropriate action.”
He continued: “I think what happened was that there was a conversation after a fraught meeting.
“Mr Hasson has something he needed to say, make a demonstration maybe.
“But it was not a demonstration, it was something that hurt and that was meant.
“I don’t expect officers in the Scottish Borders to go around prodding each other.
“I accept that he didn’t mean to cause her pain, but he did and for that I call it reckless.”
A photograph was shown to the hearing of the bruising that appeared after the prodding.
Ian Davidson, an employment solicitor for the council and a witness, said Mr Hasson claimed the incident “may have been influenced by [his] medical condition”.
Mr Davidson said the manager produced a letter from his GP for the appeal hearing which revealed he suffered from depression during the latter half of 2009 and was on medication.
The GP’s letter said the fact he was off the medication at the time of the incident may have resulted in “uncharacteristic behaviour”.
Mr Davidson said the sacked manager, who was responsible for libraries, museums, arts and community learning, had objected to his dismissal on 12 grounds, including the fact he had not been found guilty of assault.
The hearing was also told that an appeal board of five “experienced” councillors considered the case in September the same year and decided not to overturn the sacking.
Mr Hasson’s representative, Anne Scott, claimed the decision was coloured by the fact the board had seen details of allegations about him which were unproved.
The hearing, before employment judge Susan Craig, continues.