The Employment Tribunal has today awarded a former soldier £17,016 compensation against the Ministry of Defence in a case which had earlier caused a lot of tabloid foaming at the mouth.
Lurid press reports in the week referred to the Claimant's alleged attempt to recover over £1 Million and included photographs of her wearing vaguely revealing clothing (whilst off duty and therefore hardly a hanging offence.)
The tabloids portrayed the case as being an example of "political correctness gone mad" - a single mother being awarded compensation for being disciplined because the Army expected her to be available around the clock. However this is not a case where the Tribunal treated war as if it was a 9 to 5 job. As always things were considerably less straightforward than that. The Claimant was a single mother who came to the UK from St Vincent to serve in the Army. When her daughter joined her she asked if her sister could come into the country to help with child care. The Army refused to allow this.
The Tribunal found that this was unlawful race discrimination as it disproportionately affected overseas Soldiers and could not be justified. In effect the Tribunal concluded the Army could have done a lot more to help her.
The reason why the final Award was not the career-long financial loss the Claimant was after appears to have been that she was found to have not tried hard enough to get another job since leaving the Army.
There is a report of the case at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8625446.stm