MoD ordered to pay £186,000 to lesbian soldier
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been ordered to pay Lance Bombardier Kerry Fletcher £186,895.52 at a tribunal remedies hearing after she won her claim for sex discrimination, victimisation and sexual harassment earlier this year.
An employment tribunal heard that Miss Fletcher, who had been in the Army for 10 years, was pestered by a male staff sergeant at an Army stables in North Yorkshire. She received texts from the sergeant suggesting that she should have sex with a lesbian Army colleague saying “Two blondes together, I wish I was there”. He also suggested that the two women take part in sex with him and that his girlfriend should also join in. A further text said “”Look I might be able to convert you. You don’t know what you are missing.” Miss Fletcher, who is openly gay, told the tribunal that the senior NCO, who cannot be named, did not take her rejection well and, as he had considerable standing in the unit, he began to make life difficult for her and tried to destroy her career because she spurned his advances.
Earlier this year, the MoD offered Miss Fletcher an apology for the conduct of the male sergeant. However, she found that her position became “untenable” after she won her claim in January 2008 and has given one year’s notice of her intention to leave the Royal Artillery early next year because she felt she would continue to be victimised and discriminated against. In its judgment, the tribunal said: “The claimant was subjected to a sustained campaign of victimisation over a lengthy period having negative impact on her mental well-being.” The award of £186,895.52 included £30,000 in respect of injury to feelings and £20,000 for aggravated damages because of the MoD’s improper handling of the situation.