I Went to tribunal – beware – the legal system is so sexist you would not believe it!
I worked in the city for 20 years, but only really began to suffer after I got married. It got worse after I had my son, over that time I suffered and saw others suffer multiple counts of discrimination.
The first major event was that I was made redundant 2 days after I returned from maternity leave I later found out that I had been taken off the structure charts 2 weeks after I went on maternity leave.
Then a few years later I worked for a bank that was unbelievable in their attitude. During that time I suffered 104 counts of sex discrimination. Ranging from being offered and taking a job and then when I arrived being given a more junior role (in court the claim was that because I had a young son, my boss thought it best to give me a less taxing role, bloody cheek!
The final straw was when I was told my ‘cock was on the block’ for project delivery in a meeting of 20+ people, and no one did anything about it .. I felt as if I was engulfed by chauvinists and no one was doing anything about it, because they weren’t, and slowly but surely I was driven out of the place.
So I bit the bullet and took them to tribunal – be aware, very aware.. keep copies of everything – preferable with an e-mail train to another account.
The company falsified their evidence – it made me think I was going mad – they changed key points in e-mails, even to the point of sending me 3 different versions of one piece of documentation, but what could I do?,
Company representatives were proven to have given false statements in the witness box but the judge just acted like it was normal and ok.
But it doesn’t work the other way round, I made a one word error in my statement, and the Judge treated me as if I was a pariah.
Be very very very careful.
In fact the judge, treated me like an outsider all throughout the hearing, having little in jokes with their solicitor un related and related to the case.
But the one that’s really got me is that the Judge said although being told that ‘my cock was on the block’ was sexist she didn’t feel I was offended by the comment so it didn’t matter – I was so offended by the comment I couldn’t and still can’t function properly.
What you have to remember is that the UK legal system really backward in terms of equality, it has the poorest representation of women of any profession, and so the odds are stacked against you from the start.
I think of it in these terms – Having the UK legal system judging on sex discrimination cases is rather like China being the judge and jury in human rights cases.
Once you understand that and realise that companies lie and cheat and will not be honest, not even their solicitors and Tribunal judges accept that as normal acceptable practice then you can see how hard it is for anyone to win a case and why we are, in the UK, still stuck in the dark ages when it comes to sex discrimination in the work place.