Firearms officer Carol Howard, 35, made her claims for direct race discrimination, direct sex discrimination, direct marital status discrimination, and victimization to the Central London Employment Tribunal after she alleged that she had been subjected to bullying and harassment for almost a year by a senior officer in the police force.
The case came to the Central London Employment Tribunal in March 2014, with Employment Judge Grewal chairing a 3-person panel. Ms Howard claimed in her evidence that she had been subjected to a campaign of bullying and harassment by colleagues at the Metropolitan Police force – in particular, her Acting Inspector at the time, Inspector Kelly. She claimed that she had been subjected to conduct of the following nature (among other allegations):
- That she had been harassed when she had taken sick leave from the police force
- That Inspector Kelly had requested that two sergeants ask her about her sex life
- That Inspector Kelly was blocking applications made by the Claimant
- That Inspector Kelly had accused her of fraudulently tampering with her sickness absence
- That Inspector Kelly had subjected her to hostile treatment because of the lodging of a complaint by Ms Howard
- That the Metropolitan Police had failed to take any action against Inspector Kelly
- That she had been punished for complaining by the Chief Superintendent by his failure to release her from her tenure
- That Inspector Kelly had aggressively attacked her in November 2012
- That a senior officer had been told to delete findings of race and sex discrimination from the record
The Employment Tribunal ruled in Ms Howard’s favour in her claims for race discrimination, sex discrimination, and victimization, although the Tribunal found that she had not been subjected to discrimination because of her marital status. Lawyers for Ms Howard are now expected to pursue the Metropolitan Police for compensation for injury to Ms Howard’s feelings, as well as aggravated damages as a result of the police force’s conduct prior to and during the Employment Tribunal proceedings.
Ms Howard’s lawyers stated after the judgment had been received: “The conduct of the Metropolitan Police and some of its senior officers towards Carol Howard was deplorable over the last two years. [Our] client was subjected to discriminatory treatment because she is black and because she is a woman.”
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police commented on the judgment: “We are disappointed at the tribunal’s finding in favour of PC Howard. We will review the findings, take legal advice and take forward any learning or actions as appropriate.”
Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the Tribunal judgment: “This case is particularly shocking as the Employment Tribunal found that the police force had systematically deleted findings of discrimination from investigations carried out by the force. One can only speculate as to the reason why the Metropolitan Police has undertaken such an action but the fact that they have done so is clearly unacceptable.”
A copy of the Employment Tribunal judgment can be found on the Judiciary.gov.uk website