A former Sellafield worker has lost her appeal against an employment tribunal – but a judge found there had been errors in how the case was handled.

Alison McDermott was hired by Sellafield as a consultant for 21 days after previously working for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).

She was tasked with carrying out focus group interviews with members of staff following anonymous allegations of sexual harassment against an employee at the company.

Ms McDermott said she was let go in October 2018, after she alleged there was a "toxic culture" and highlighted claims of “vile homophobic abuse, sexual harassment and bullying” at the workplace.

Sellafield said the contract was terminated because Ms McDermott's work on equality, diversity and inclusion was “fundamentally flawed”.

A previous tribunal judge concluded she was not a whistleblower and there was no “causal link” between her report and the termination of her contract.

However, an appeal judge found there had been errors in her tribunal but not enough to warrant a new one.

Ms McDermott had appealed against the original judgement on 13 grounds as well as the order made for her to pay £40,000 in costs.

Appeal judge HHJ Simon Auerbach said "although some grounds of appeal were partially successful", they were "not sufficient to disturb" the original tribunal's findings.

He criticised the award of costs against Ms McDermott as "unsafe" and the costs appeal was allowed.

Sellafield said the appeal judgement was welcomed.

A spokesman for the company said: “The original tribunal’s written judgment was clear: the claims made against Sellafield Ltd in this case were entirely without substance and there was no basis for claims against the NDA. 

 “We are pleased the appeal hearing has rejected the claimant’s appeal and upheld the overall findings of the original tribunal.

 “We have noted the decision of the appeal hearing on costs having reviewed the reasoning of the original tribunal’s decision.

“We remain committed to eradicating bullying and harassment. We do not tolerate this behaviour and where we find it, we address it.”

Ms McDermott was approached for comment.