A female sailor who was awarded the MBE could be in line for a six-figure payout after winning her case of sex discrimination against the Royal Navy, her solicitor said today.
Chief petty officer Jacqueline Cartner took her case to the Southampton Employment Tribunal after she was passed over for promotion to warrant officer.
Now the married mother-of-two could be in line for a payout the equivalent of 10 years' pay if an agreement is not reached with the Navy.
A spokesman for the service said it intends to appeal against the tribunal's findings.
He said: "The service is very disappointed with the tribunal's findings. After consideration and with advice from MoD's legal advisers, it is intended to appeal."
CPO Cartner's solicitor Kam Bains said the tribunal ruled that the Royal Navy had discriminated against the sailor, contrary to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975.
He said it also made recommendations for reform as it found the Navy's promotion system was "a matter of concern" and the procedure employed by the promotion board was "primitive".
The case concerned the decision of the Royal Navy's annual promotion board in 2008, where CPO Cartner was the only female candidate considered for promotion against a number of male candidates.
She claimed she was a better candidate because she had carried out the role of warrant officer in an acting capacity since February 2006, while none of her competitors had performed at that level.
She also asserted that she was seen as less worthy of promotion on the grounds of her non-seagoing status.
CPO Cartner was selected as the Nato Military Member of the Year in 2000 and awarded an MBE in 2001.
Mr Bains said she had received excellent appraisals throughout her career, having been promoted to each and every rank faster than every one of her competitors and regularly outperformed other male peers.
He added: "Jacqueline believed that all these achievements were overlooked by the 2008 promotion board because of her gender.
"She pursued an internal grievance about the matter but, when this was inadequately investigated and then rejected, felt she had no option but to pursue legal action."
CPO Cartner, who serves at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, Hampshire, and is married to a Royal Naval officer, said: "This has been a very long and painful road for both me and my family, and I am sad that it has had to come this far.
"However, I am glad that the tribunal ruling has served to vindicate my claims of sex discrimination."
A further hearing to decide the level of compensation is expected to be held in April.