Sex Discrimination Settlement for Council Employee
Published 28 August 2018. By Kym Horner
The Equality Commission has announced that a former Council employee of Causeway Coast & Glens has been paid a £25,000 settlement in a case relating to sex discrimination.
Sharon Douglas was employed as a yard/storeperson for the Environmental Services department of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and was the only female in this section. She alleged that she was discriminated against and subjected to harassment during her employment, resigning from her role after 5 years.
Unlike her male colleagues, Ms Douglas stated she was denied overtime and training on machinery. In another instance, she was asked to go to a different site ahead of an inspectors visit to clean the toilets and kitchen – as the toilets “needed a woman’s touch”.
A formal grievance was made and subsequently rejected. Furthermore, during the course of these investigations, it was reported that male colleagues at another site would not be happy to work alongside her for fear that “she accuses me of something.”
Ms Douglas was dissatisfied with the responses to her complaints, and was left feeling “deeply hurt and upset.”
The Equality Commission assisted Ms Douglas in her claim for sex discrimination. Ms Douglas felt she was excluded from benefits and advantages available to her male colleague, and that comments made to her were a direct reference to her gender.
Ms Douglas was paid £25,000 which consisted of £10,000 for the injury to her feelings, and a further £15,000 in respect of loss of earnings. The settlement was made without admission of liability.
Following the case the Council has agreed to meet with the Equality Commission and review its policies, practices and procedures to ensure they comply in all respects with Equality Legislation.
Suzanne Keenan, Associate Director and Head of Employment, comments: “This is a great result for Ms Douglas. It was brave of her to take this case forward and I hope it creates awareness and change for employees facing similar situations.”
Source: Equality Commission