Police worker wins £40,000 over sex bias compensation

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The Independent Online

A Metropolitan Police worker who was sent sexist and obsessive e-mails has been awarded £40,000 compensation only two years after she won her first claim for sex discrimination against the force.

Christine Jordan, 44, a personnel officer at a west London police station, was bombarded daily by e-mails and verbal "compliments" from a male colleague who had become obsessed with her.

In one e-mail she was sent a list of "beauty tips". Another had a copy of an advert for a high-street fashion store showing a man crashing his car into a wall while being distracted by a woman in a backless dress.

Ms Jordan claims that a day hardly went by without the man paying a physical compliment of some kind, which she described as "obsessive, excessive, undesirable and uninvited". When she made an official complaint about his behaviour she said the police failed to investigate or take it seriously.

Ms Jordan, from south-west London, first sued the Metropolitan Police for £8,000 in 1999 after a senior officer described her as a "CID groupie". After the employment tribunal ruling she returned to work at her old station but said the atmosphere was "hostile and uncomfortable" and showed the force had victimised her by "closing ranks".

In an out-of-court settlement of her claims against the force Ms Jordan has been paid £40,000 in return for dropping her legal action. After she was told of her compensation, Ms Jordan said: "Despite all the changes to policing I was viewed as part of the problem and not part of the solution." Her lawyer, Lawrence Davies, a leading employment solicitor, described the case as "very sad". He said: "The Met is still in denial about being labelled institutionally sexist. They only go through the motions of dealing with the procedures of these kinds of cases of discrimination." Mr Davies, based at North Lambeth Law Centre, added: "The treatment of Ms Jordan shows there is no way back for officers and civilian workers who complain."

Last year, the Met paid more than £2m in compensation to several female PCs who claimed they had been victims of sexual discrimination.

And the Met is facing fresh compensation claims for £1m after two female officers alleged that institutional sexism in the force has ruined their careers. The cases detail widespread sexual harassment and victimisation over several years by male officers whose behaviour is said to have been sanctioned by superiors.

In one, a 33-year-old female officer will describe how the Met's mounted-police branch has become a place where women are viewed with "hostility" and endure a "male-dominated sexist culture". The woman, from East Sussex, claims that during her four years' service she was subjected to systematic sexist behaviour, including bra-strap pulling and bottom-slapping.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police confirmed that the force had settled with Ms Jordan without any admission of liability.