• Roger Wilson, a former director of Warrington and Halton FT, has been granted an employment tribunal hearing over claims of sexual discrimination 
  • Mr Wilson claimed he was unfairly dismissed and treated less favourably by three senior female board members
  • He was previously HR director at Warrington but was found guilty of gross misconduct for agreeing an “irregular” pay off deal with a midwife while employed at Morecambe Bay

A former NHS director has accused senior female leaders at his old trust of sexual discrimination after he was found guilty of gross misconduct for agreeing an “irregular” pay off for a Morecambe Bay midwife.

Roger Wilson, former human resources director at Warrington and Halton Foundation Trust, has taken the trust to an employment tribunal over claims he was sexually discriminated against by the chief executive Mel Pickup, director of community engagement and corporate affairs Pat McLaren, and the director of finance Andrea Chadwick.

The hearing began on Monday and is due to conclude on Friday 5 October.

An earlier attempt by the trust to have his claim thrown out was rejected by a judge at a preliminary employment tribunal hearing in December.

Mr Wilson resigned from the trust in May 2017 ahead of the outcome of an internal investigation which found him guilty of gross misconduct for “irregular” payments he made to a midwife, at the centre of the maternity scandal at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust.

According to the preliminary hearing, the trust accused Mr Wilson of gross misconduct over allegations he had “managed termination payments” for three staff while employed at Warrington “when the trust had no compliant procedure.”

The trust also claimed he had lost the “trust and confidence” of the organisation’s management team.

Mr Wilson claims he was unfairly dismissed and treated less favourably by the three senior female board members due to his sex.

He also claims he was “treated less favourably” than Sharon Gilligan, the chief operating officer, who he said, “was not taken through a disciplinary process, despite very serious allegations being made against her of bullying”.

Mr Wilson told the tribunal he resigned on the basis that “it was he who had lost confidence in Warrington and Halton Trust”.

During the preliminary hearing, Judge Robinson said: “I recognise that the claimant’s sex needs not be the only reason for the treatment of him. However, if the treatment of him is tainted by discrimination then there is the potential for him to win some or all of his claims.”

In July 2017, the trust referred Mr Wilson to the Care Quality Commission under the fit and proper persons test.

The trust was approached for comment.