27/11/2008

MoD Payout For Lesbian Solider

A gay female soldier has been awarded almost £190,000 in compensation from the Ministry of Defence after she was sexually harassed by a male sergeant.

Lance Bombardier Kerry Fletcher, 32, was awarded £186,895.52 after she won her claims for sex discrimination, victimisation and sexual harassment against the MoD at an employment tribunal in Leeds.

Ms Fletcher, who lives in Birmingham - but is originally from Sheffield - claimed that the actions of the unnamed staff sergeant had caused the collapse of her career.

The tribunal heard how Ms Fletcher, who is openly gay, had been pestered for sex and had been sent explicit text messages from the sergeant while she worked at Army stables in North Yorkshire.
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Ms Fletcher said that the sergeant and other male colleagues then tried to destroy her career because she rejected his advances.

She handed in her notice in February this year, after serving in the Army's Royal Artillery for 10 years and will leave the Army early next year.

In its judgement, the Tribunal said that the case was "as severe a case of victimisation following an allegation of sexual harassment as one could see in an employment tribunal".

The damages awarded include £30,000 for "injury to feelings", £20,000 for "aggravated damages", £50,000 for "exemplary damages" and £65,558 for loss of earnings and pension entitlement, with the remainder made up of Ms Fletcher's costs and interest payments.

(KMcA)

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