A transsexual who was hounded out of her job as a trucker after she began her transition from her former male gender has been awarded damages by an employment tribunal.
Vikki-Marie Gaynor, 37, from Wallasey in Wirral, will get £20,000 following her successful claims of sexual discrimination against Exel Europe, part of delivery giant DHL, and recruitment agency Blue Arrow.
Employment judge Dawn Shotter has ruled that Blue Arrow must pay more than £9,000 compensation for breach of contract, compensation for unlawful discrimination and failing to comply with the Employment Act.
Exel must pay £11,000 for injury to feelings.
The ex-soldier, who got her HGV licence through the Royal Corps of Transport, told the tribunal that previously friendly members of staff at the depot in Kirkby, Merseyside, began a campaign of harassment against her, including dumping her belongings and makeup in a toilet.
Employment judge Mr Homfray-Davies ruled in April that Blue Arrow did discriminate against Gaynor in the way it dealt with her two grievances and agreed that she was removed from her regular run by Exel/DHL in part because of her transition.
The employment tribunal heard that Blue Arrow had condoned and failed to challenge the discriminatory behaviour of Exel/DHL, failed to support Gaynor when she informed them of the problem and failed to follow their own equal opportunities policy by not dealing with her grievances adequately.
It was also ruled that Exel/DHL did remove Gaynor from her usual run and allocated her runs whereby she was more likely to be “the butt of ribald comments”.
The company was also guilty of ignoring the discriminatory conduct of its staff towards Gaynor, and failed to support her in her complaints about those staff.
Having resigned from her position in March 2007, Gaynor has now set up a business offering schools and employers workshops and information about transexuality.
“I have lived and breathed this case for the past year and a half and I know the devastating effect it can have on someone’s life,” she told PinkNews.co.uk when the judgement was released in April.
“I know that anyone who enters the process of transition is not doing so lightly and it’s a very difficult period, particularly at work.
“I want to make sure that there is more information about being a transgender out in the public sphere so that people are more aware not only of discrimination guidelines, but also of the day-to-day pleasantries when speaking to someone who is going through a transition.”
Gaynor has experienced severe harassment from members of the public during the process of her case.
She has had her front door kicked down by three men who followed her home, has been shouted at in the street and has been assaulted twice.
“The most important aim for me now is to raise awareness of this type of discrimination and ensure that it doesn’t happen to other people,” she said.