Former PSNI Officer Awarded £31,000 in Sex Discrimination Case

A Tribunal has awarded Ms Emma Bond (“The Claimant”), a former PSNI officer, over £31,000 following her successful sex discrimination claim. This comes after she brought her previous employer, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) (“The Respondent”), to an employment tribunal subsequent to discrimination because she’s a woman.

We take a look at the events which led to her claim and the judgement made by the tribunal. We also discuss when you could be eligible to make a sex discrimination claim and how we can help.

Redmans Solicitors are experts in all areas of employment law and can assist eligible individuals through the legal process. To begin your journey with us today, simply:

Why the Former PSNI Officer Made a Sex Discrimination Claim?

Former PSNI Officer Disciplined Subordinates

In January 2020, Ms Bond became the PSNI commander for the Derry and Strabane area, the first woman to do so. However, within months, the former PSNI officer became involved in a row with officers in the force.

On 27 April 2020, the claimant learned how officers in her district didn’t report for duty during a two-week period that month while still getting paid. As such, the senior police officer raised concerns about the incident to her superior, outlining her anger and embarrassment at the situation. She added she considered it a “critical incident” and wanted to meet with the Senior Management Team (SMT) after she’d given the section a “rollock”.

Her superior agreed that the officers’ conduct amounted to a critical incident. Furthermore, he was supportive of Ms Bond’s disciplinary suggestions of addressing the incident in a “robust fashion”.

On 28 April, after receiving support from her superior, Ms Bond held two briefings with 122 officers. She informed them the incident would be referred to the PSNI’s Professional Standards department concerning potential misconduct.

Senior Police Officer Dealt With Misogyny

Subsequently, four officers made complaints about Ms Bond’s behaviour, calling it “humiliating, intimidating and degrading”. One of the complaints made, on 12 May, claimed the former PSNI officer “lost control” and “was abusive”. This led to an investigation against the claimant for alleged gross misconduct, which was not upheld. 

Following the disciplinary action taken by Ms Bond, the tribunal heard how an officer said, “Being in the woman’s thing has gone to her head”. This referred to the Women in Policing Association, which the claimant co-founded in 2007 and chaired until 2021.

Furthermore, the tribunal was shown misogynistic messages between officers in a WhatsApp group. The tribunal stated that one officer said, “What a f*****g stupid c**t think we all know how she got promoted now”.

Against Ms Bond’s wishes, she was later transferred to a role within the police training college. Her superiors cited their concern over her long commute time as a reason, even though her male replacement lived close to her. As such, the senior police officer eventually left and now holds the position of assistant chief constable with Police Scotland.

The Tribunals Verdict

The tribunal held that Ms Bond experienced less favourable treatment than a hypothetical male comparator. They said that ‘robust management’ will occasionally occur in a disciplined organisation and shouldn’t result in complaints. Moreover, they added it is noteworthy that no female officer complained about the former PSNI officer’s briefings.

Therefore, after concluding Ms Bond had been subject to less favourable treatment and experienced sexism, her sex discrimination claim succeeded. As a result, the tribunal awarded her over £31,000.

Making a Sex Discrimination Claim

Under the Equality Act 2010, discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably due to a protected characteristic. In the case of sex discrimination, this unfavourable treatment will result from their sex.

Unfavourable treatment could include, among other things, removing promotional opportunities, making a person’s job more difficult or causing financial loss. Moreover, the disadvantage caused doesn’t have to have been intentional to qualify.

As part of the eligibility criteria to claim compensation, an individual must be:

  • An employee or worker
  • A contractor
  • Self-employed and working for the employer individually
  • A job applicant
  • A former employee

An eligible individual could potentially claim against the offender themselves or the employer. To ensure employers aren’t liable for sex discrimination, they must take steps to prevent it from occurring and protect the welfare of employees. Furthermore, to avoid vicarious liability, they must take all reasonable steps to prevent those eligible from being discriminated against by others.

If you have experienced sex discrimination like the former PSNI officer, contact us today. Redmans Solicitors can answer your questions and discover your eligibility to claim compensation. You can get in touch with us now by: