Group Captain Wendy Williams, 54, took the Ministry of Defence to an Employment Tribunal after she accused the air force of treating men more favourably than women when they were considering requests for promotion.
Ms Williams, who was the highest-ranking female nurse until she retired from the Royal Air Force in 2013, made the claim for sex discrimination in the Employment Tribunal after she felt that she had been passed over for promotion to a top multi-force role in favour of a less-qualified man.
During the course of the Employment Tribunal figures were obtained from the Ministry of Defence which showed that among 470 top positions in the Armed Forces for medical staff, only 6 were held by women between 2011 and 2012.
Ms Williams, giving evidence at the Birmingham Employment Tribunal last year, stated that she felt that she had been humiliated, demoralised, and “totally let down” by the RAF’s failure to promote her and it’s attitude towards promoting women in general. The Employment Tribunal, chaired by Employment Judge Victoria Dean, found in Ms Williams’ favour in her claim for sex discrimination.
The remedies hearing in the Employment Tribunal was held last month, with the Employment Tribunal awarding Ms Williams £557,038 – £204,079 for loss of earnings, £105,585 for the loss of her pension, and £22,000 for injury to feelings, including more than £500 interest on the award.
Employment law solicitor Chris Hadrill, a solicitor at Redmans, commented on the Employment Tribunal: “This case – as well as another discrimination case involving the South Wales Police Force – shows that employers must be extremely careful to treat their staff fairly and equally or they risk Employment Tribunal awards that can potentially stretch to hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
Neither Ms Williams nor the Ministry of Defence appears to have commented after the remedies hearing.