Sex Discrimination At Work - Paul Doran Law

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Sex Discrimination At Work

Sadly, it seems that sex discrimination is still prevalent. Here are a couple of recent stories that demonstrate the point.

A minority of one

Sharon Douglas used to work in the environmental services department at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council in Northern Ireland. She was the only woman employed as a yard/storeperson in the Limavady depot. But…

She went off work with stress, resigned in May and made a claim for sex discrimination.

Sharon was awarded £25,000, and the council has agreed to review its policies, practices and procedures to ensure they conform with equality legislation.

Favouritism

In August 2016, Olwen Renowden joined the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as an economist on grade 7.

In February 2017, the ONS advertised two posts at the higher level of grade 6 – one in London and the other in Newport.

Olwen applied for the vacancy in Newport. However, she wasn’t invited to interview. Although Olwen had previously worked in London at grade 6, and had experience from the Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund, the recruitment panel decided she fell below the minimum requirement in the “application of economics” competency test. In June 2017, both jobs were given to male economists who had less experience than her.

Olwen raised a grievance. The ONS investigation found other women were also concerned about the gender imbalance, but that discrimination wasn’t proven. Her appeal failed, so Olwen resigned in August 2018 because she didn’t think she had a future with ONS.

With the support of her trade union, she took her case to the tribunal, saying at least five other women could have been added to her claim.

Documents showed that 37% of grade 7 economists at the ONS were women, compared with just 20% of the higher grade 6. The tribunal therefore found that gender balance was “out of kilter”, and Olwen was awarded £19,000 as compensation for injury to feelings.

What this means to you

You are entitled to the same opportunities and benefits as your colleagues doing the same job, including promotion, training and access to overtime. Also, you have the right to do your job without discrimination, harassment or victimisation. What’s more, your employer must make sure they have equality policies in place, and that they implement them properly.

If any of these things don’t happen, you can make a claim.

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