Two female Police Officers win sex discrimination claim
Two female firearms officers are due to receive settlement sums of £35000 each after a tribunal held that they had being discriminated against on the grounds of sex due them being too petite to effectively carry out the duties of their roles.
Officers Victoria Wheatley and Rachael Giles were required to carry out test shoots for their jobs but they had difficulty with the grip of their guns and could not reach the trigger.
They were also provided with ill fitting protection equipment such as helmets and kneepads which hampered their performance.
Their employment was at risk as continued unsatisfactory performance at the test shoots could result in dismissal.
The women raised their concerns on ‘a regular basis’ but complained that no action was taken by their employers. They were successful at a tribunal for their claims for indirect sex discrimination.
This case serves as a useful reminder of the principles of indirect discrimination.
In this case all officers were told to use the same weapon. But the female officers had smaller hands because of their sex. They were therefore at a disadvantage when using the weapon whilst men with larger hands did better in the tests.
Employers should not put an employee in a situation where they are at a particular disadvantage because of a protected characteristic such as sex or disability whereas other employees (who do not share that characteristic) are not disadvantaged.