Sacked army nurse defends award: A servicewoman dismissed for being pregnant speaks out after yesterday's tribunal ruling

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The Independent Online
THE Ministry of Defence accepted in 1991 that it had acted unlawfully in its policy of dismissing pregnant women between 1978 and 1990, following an appeal to the European Court by two women.

Since then awards totalling pounds 20m have been made to about 2,400 women with another 1,700 cases to be decided. Individuals have received payments of up to pounds 400,000.

A former Army nurse, Katriona Kay - who won pounds 110,000 because she was sacked when she became pregnant - yesterday said she deserved her pay-out. Mrs Kay, 42, of Bardsey, Leeds, said: 'Each case, including mine, is quite individual. I spent seven years with the Army - it was my career - yet when I told them I was pregnant I was sacked on the spot.'

Mrs Kay, who was awarded the money in June after being sacked 12 years ago, spoke out after the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that the awards given against the MoD were 'excessive' and 'out of proportion to the wrong done'.

She said: 'I lost my Army house and everything. I wouldn't say that my award of pounds 110,000 was excessive when I think what I had to go through. I deserved the money.'

Mrs Kay blamed the Army for the large pay-outs. 'If the MoD had been reasonable and admitted they were wrong in the first place we could have settled out of court. But they had to fight and we had to fight back - they could have saved themselves a lot of money.

'I think women feel more strongly about their rights and more protected by the law. However, the Army seem to think they are a law unto themselves.'