June 14th, 2010


Posted in The Job - General by 200

Long-time readers of this blog will know of my disdain for civil lawsuits aimed at getting compensation for matters which seem wholly inapropriate to the actual damage done. While soldiers being blown up in Afghanistan get a fraction for losing major sections of their bodies.

Sussex Police have been found guilty of sexism in the case of a female PC who joined the firearms unit at Gatwick Airport in 2002. She sued the force after going off sick with depression following a number of incidents.

Among the inacceptable behaviour from male colleagues is cited leaving topless photos of women around the office, refusing to sit next to her, being called a ‘whoopsy’ a ‘lipstick’ & a ‘daisy’.

In 2007 the tribunal ruled that PC Barbara Lynford was subjected to offensive and sexual remarks and exposure to inappropriate material on duty for more than a year because she was a woma. She left the job at Gatwick after one year. After a four-year fight for money she has been awarded £275,000 in damages. A further award of £300,000 in compensation has been provisionally awarded dependent on whether or not she is found to be ualified to retire from the police on a sick pension, if she is she will not get the extra £300,000.

Jamie Cooper, the youngest soldier to be blown up in Iraq when he was 18, said: “It is sickening. This is just not right. There are soldiers who have lost legs and arms fighting for their country – who cannot work as a result and who need care for the rest of their lives. But they have to make do on less than a woman who can’t take a bit of banter.”

Lynford is currently on sick leave while her claim for an ill-health pension is assessed.

She said: “In all my life I have never been treated as badly as I have been at Gatwick. I survived backpacking around India at the age of 19 for a few months, where I was even kidnapped and held against my will for a few days in Bombay.

“Nothing, however, prepared me for the people at Gatwick. I felt sick every time I went to work and cried every time I went home.”

In times of inspiration it sometimes works to turn to a Daily Mail Reader. Chris of Litchfield thinks: “As to this woman’s half-million payout for hurt feelings, it’s not a bad career move, is it? Move into a male-dominated unit, wait till someone says something about your tits, and KERCHING!!! Pension sorted, and no need to work ever again.”

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  1. Dr Melvin 'Banned from most police blogs' Gray says:

    Kerr-ching indeed. Incidental revelations provide further stomach churning evidence, if any were needed, that one of our most costly public services is in meltdown.

    June 15th, 2010 at 07:15

  2. met east london says:

    If you can not take the banter off the canteen rambos will she try and claim from the oiks that have hurled abuse at her? Or did she go off sick with stress every time it happened

    June 15th, 2010 at 09:17

  3. Fee says:

    I worked (briefly) in a male-dominated IT department. There was a fair amount of banter, and I dealt with it by giving as good as I got.

    In her shoes, I’d have left photos of some male hunk in shorts lying around (or a certain D Beckham’s underwear advert) and replied to the nicknames by coming up with a few, less-than-complimentary ones of my own. Fight fire with fire, is my motto.

    I do wonder, though, if her employers had been made aware of her problem at an early stage? If they were, and failed to at least have a word with the other officers (come on guys, she’s a bit sensitive, lay off the banter, yeah?) they could have avoided some unpleasant publicity and an expensive (and in my opinion, excessive) payout. If she didn’t immediately object, and again this is my opinion, then she shouldn’t be getting a payout at all. I would presume her sick leave was on full pay, so she hasn’t suffered financially?

    June 15th, 2010 at 13:36

  4. Ted says:

    If she couldn’t cope with a bit of sexism why was she thought suitable to handle a firearm?

    June 15th, 2010 at 17:28

  5. Tony F says:

    Ted, my thoughts exactly.

    June 15th, 2010 at 18:44

  6. shijuro says:

    So, a person that has (presumably) the inner steel to take someones life, gets upset by being called ‘a whoopsy’?

    My thoughts were immediately focused on the apparent lack of supervision.

    Banter is going to happen, indeed is probably necessary.

    If I saw that it was bothering a team member, as a sergeant I would stamp it out. Full stop.

    June 15th, 2010 at 19:57

  7. Civ_In_The_City says:

    One of my milder nicknames at work (when my learned colleagues feel like demonstrating their razor wit) is: Fatty, fatty gay-lord.

    I`ll take that over a shot from an AK-47 any day.

    As long as employers keep paying out lottery money for this bullshit there are people who will continue to claim it.

    June 15th, 2010 at 21:09

  8. Blueknight says:

    All Police women were known as ‘wopsies’. There was nothing derogatory about it. It was a word made from the initials WPC.
    Ted, not sure who thought she was suitable. Diversity in action?
    Shijuro, right, but it may not have been obvious at the time, unless she complained.
    One way or another it sounds as if she did not get on well with the rest of the team and I doubt if that simply because she was a woman.

    June 15th, 2010 at 21:34

  9. shijuro says:

    I have nicknames and I have, occasionally, had a hard time of it at work.

    I still think its all very odd… and we are certainly not getting the full story…

    600k though? When we have blokes and girls being shot at, daily and coming home with arms and legs missing that get less?

    I just think its insane…

    June 15th, 2010 at 22:23

  10. as ex as ex can be says:


    June 16th, 2010 at 12:04

  11. Hogday says:

    I had a far worse complaint confided to me by a woman, where the banter ultimately became indecent assault. After three hours of listening to her I informed her that I had enough evidence to arrest the perpetrator immediately and would gladly do so. She then informed me she’d top herself rather than go through the procedures, effecively placing me in a no win situation. The person eventually offended again and, judging by what happened to him, I could see why she decided to keep schtum and just opt for unburdening on me and knowing I’d pounce on him if I had evidence of my own, but of course these people pick their moments, don’t they. If a stonking great fine for the force (ratepayers of Sussex) saves other women from her fate then so be it, but it seems a weird way to go about it.

    June 16th, 2010 at 16:52

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