Payout for soldier forced to quit over childcare

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The Independent Online

A female soldier disciplined by the Army after missing a parade to look after her daughter is set to receive damages after winning an employment tribunal claim, it was reported today.

Single mother Tilern DeBique, 28, said she was forced to leave her job because she was unable to organise childcare.

The former corporal won a claim of sexual discrimination following a hearing at the Central London Employment Tribunal, the Daily Mail said.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "The Armed Forces aim to achieve a working environment free from harassment, intimidation and discrimination.

"Serving personnel who are parents are responsible for ensuring they have childcare arrangements in place so that they can fulfil all of their Army duties.

"Commonwealth and RoI (Republic of Ireland) citizens have access to the same levels of Army welfare support as their British counterparts."

A hearing continues today to decide the level of payout due to Ms DeBique for loss of earnings and damages.

Ms DeBique, who was recruited on the Caribbean island of St Vincent, was told she was expected to be available for duty at all times and that the Army was "unsuitable for a single mother who couldn't sort out her childcare arrangements", the tribunal heard.

She was formally disciplined after failing to turn out on a parade in January 2007 so she could look after her daughter. A month earlier, she missed training after her daughter fell ill, it was reported.

After quitting the Army in 2008, she launched employment tribunal proceedings and won her claim for sexual discrimination.

She also successfully argued that she was the victim of race discrimination after saying that immigration laws prevented her bringing a relative to the UK to help with childcare.

The tribunal heard that most British servicemen and women were able to turn to their families for help with childcare.

But Ms DeBique, a signals technician who worked on communications equipment, argued that she was disadvantaged because her family were based in St Vincent and unable to assist.

She had wanted her half-sister to move in as a live-in carer at her accommodation at Chelsea Barracks, the Daily Mail said.

She joined 10 Signal Regiment in March 2001 and brought the child to UK in September 2006, the newspaper said.

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