SCOTLAND'S largest arts and leisure spin-off has been damned over its wrongful sacking of five managers amid allegations of a Commonwealth Games overtime scam.

Instructing it to pay its former employees in excess of £100,000, the Employment Tribunal has accused Glasgow Life of running a "biased investigation" carried out by senior bosses who it said lacked credibility and reliability.

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The Tribunal claims "no other reasonable employer would have dismissed the claimants", describing them as long-serving employees with clean records and able to fully explain the allegations they faced.

One of the managers had been unable to return to full-time employment due to the stress caused by the dismissal, while another has secured a payout of around £40,000.

Unions have now called on Glasgow Life chief executive Dr Bridget McConnell to investigate the sackings and the Glasgow City Council-owned trust's disciplinary practices, as two other related cases await a Tribunal hearing.

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The five managers, Thomas Wylie, Alexander Bruce, Lisa Roy, Carol Hughes and Lindy Keenan, were dismissed by the organisation last July amid claims the Tollcross International Swimming Centre paid out 33 per cent more overtime hours than at other local authority sports facilities.

The group had always insisted the payments were authorised, including, several claimed, by the manager carrying out the investigation, and the long hours were part of the build-up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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In a judgement which shreds the credibility of Glasgow Life, the Employment Tribunal said the organisation's senior manager who carried out the investigation, Ms Debbie O'Brien, had "tainted the whole investigative process" and that there was no will further up the ladder to challenge her findings.

Accusing her of using inflammatory language such as "culture of deceit" throughout the probe, it said: "The process adopted by Ms O'Brien was not impartial: her role as investigating officer was to gather all of the facts rather than draw conclusions and present the information in a wholly slanted and biased manner.

"The focus of her investigation was finding evidence to support the allegations and she considered it her role to 'implicate' the claimants. The claimants' explanations for their actions were rebuffed or undermined by Mrs O'Brien."

It added that her use of "very biased language tainted not only the investigation process but also subsequent procedures", adding that some of her practices during the probe were "wholly bizarre" and "inaccurate and misleading".

The report also accused Glasgow Life financial controller Stephen Wilson, who dismissed the five, of "closing his mind to their being anything other than a culture of deceit and gross misconduct by the claimants".

It states: "He was simply not prepared to consider the defences or explanations put forward by the claimants."

Describing the five as "all be entirely credible and reliable witnesses" the Tribunal criticised Mr Wilson for being being unwilling to answer difficult questions and giving stock answers while describing his "grasp of facts" as "vulnerable".

Upholding their claims for wrongful dismissal it said no other "reasonable employer" would either have sacked the group or believed Ms O'Brien did not have a conflict of interest as she had been cited in evidence as having knowledge of the payments.

It also accuses Glasgow Life of breaching both the ACAS code of practice and their own procedures, questioning why it failed to suspend the group during the Commonwealth Games when the investigation was well underway.

A source close to the five said: "From the beginning this was a stitch up. The Employment Tribunal recognised this. However, untold damage has been done to the workers’ health, employment status and reputation.

“An urgent investigation into how Glasgow Life conducts its employment relations is now required. This cannot be swept under the carpet. "Glasgow Life workers need to know that they will never be subject in the same way to the brutal treatment these Tollcross workers faced."

A spokesman for Glasgow Life, said: “We note the decision of the tribunal and will respond in due course.”