Female police officers win their sex discrimination claims
Two female police officers who were put on restricted duties for giving evidence against a colleague have won their sex discrimination claims.
The tribunal ruled that they had been treated in way that would be detrimental to their careers, while male officers in a comparable position were not.
The case involved two senior officers, Jane Higham and Laura Escott, who worked for Greater Manchester Police.
They were both called as witnesses in a case brought by a male inspector, who claimed he was the victim of racial discrimination.
While giving evidence, Higham disclosed information about an allegation made against the inspector in 1998, when he allegedly grabbed a female colleague and pinned her to the wall.
That case was settled out of court, but the inspector made a complaint about the allegations and warned of a potential defamation claim.
Both Higham and Escott were placed on restrictive duties while an investigation of gross misconduct took place.
Escott emailed deputy chief constable Ian Pilling, saying she and Higham were being used as “collateral damage” and being treated as “expendable”.
Pilling said the restricted duties were imposed because of a blanket policy which was invoked whenever an allegation was raised.
Higham told the tribunal that it had been “highly embarrassing” and that senior officers had been “vindictive” and “highly damaging” to both her and Escott’s wellbeing.
The tribunal heard that the same disciplinary action had not been taken against four male officers in a comparable situation, so the blanket policy as “the reason for restriction in this case was weak”.
Escott, who no longer works for GMP, was awarded £30,000 compensation and Higham, who remained in her role, was awarded £12,500.
Please contact Simran Lalli if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of employment law.