Lesbian soldier wins claim against Ministry of Defence
A 31-year-old Lance Bombadier has won a claim of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and sex discrimination at an employment tribunal.
Kerry Fletcher, who is a lesbian, was the victim of unwanted sexual advances from a male sergeant who claimed he could “convert” her.
She could win more than £400,000 damages representing lost earnings and hurt feelings.
Ms Fletcher had intended to stay in the Army for another 12 years but her career was cut short by campaign of harassment she suffered.
She has been on sick leave following her 18-month ordeal and will now leave the Army.
The two-week tribunal in Leeds last November heard how the sergeant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sent Ms Fletcher perverted text messages about his penis, told her to break up with her “minging” girlfriend and offered to have a threesome with her and another female soldier.
“I was panic stricken and embarrassed. He was my boss. I thought this was completely out of my control,” she told the tribunal.
When Ms Fletcher rejected his advances, she says she was harassed by his friends who forced her out of 40 Regiment, Royal Artillery in North Yorks.
In her new battery, Ms Fletcher faced similar treatment.
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She says her tyres were slashed and she received abusive phone calls late at night.
She also claims to have overheard her new superior being instructed to “fuck her over” and “make her life a misery.”
Ms Fletcher is awaiting the outcome of a second employment tribunal in Birmingham at which she claimed victimisation.
She joined the Army in 1996 and was the first woman to ride with the King’s Troop and paraded for the Queen’s Birthday and Trooping of the Colour.
“The MoD is considering the lengthy judgment issued by the tribunal. We don’t wish to comment further,” said a spokesman.
Damages will be decided at a later remedy hearing.