A lawyer specialising in equal opportunities law, Michael Rubenstein, is now suggesting that many of those women who put their careers before motherhood and stayed at their posts during the relevant time may also have a claim to compensation. First they suffered shock, anger and distress on learning that they had been unlawfully obliged to forgo motherhood if they wished to keep their jobs. This was then accentuated by the large awards given to women who had been dismissed.
If he proves right, a high proportion of service women of child- bearing age at the relevant time could be entitled to damages. Either they were unlawfully dismissed or they remained childless to avoid unlawful dismissal.
Mr Rubenstein's suggestion is not as far-fetched as it may seem. True, the awards to those dismissed on grounds of pregnancy look over-generous, especially when compared with those for serious physical injuries suffered on duty or at work. But it is no small matter to have been wrongfully coerced into childlessness.
Should the payments stop there? What of all those loyal husbands who were consequently denied the joys of paternity? The Ministry of Defence continues to provide a cautionary model of how not to manage these sensitive questions.Reuse content