A high-ranking RAF nurse has accused the Royal Air Force of discrimination after a male colleague was promoted to a position ahead of her.
Ms Wendy Williams, 52, is a high-ranking nurse in the RAF with the equivalent rank of a group captain. Sehe commenced employment with the RAF in 1984 and in 2006 acted up as assistant director of nursing – a position she continued in until 2009. After she had completed her assignment to this role she applied for a position which was equivalent to that of air commodore and expected to be appointed to this post as she had previously been praised by Ministry of Defence officials and told she was “ready” for the job. However, a male colleague (who was also a group captain) was selected for the role ahead of her. Ms Williams was extremely upset by this and believed that she had been discriminated against in the selection process. She therefore subsequently made an Employment Tribunal claim for indirect sex discrimination against the RAF.
Ms Williams – who has treated personnel wounded in Afghanistan – contends that it was harder for her as a nurse to achieve promotion to senior ranks (and that she was therefore discriminated against on the basis of her sex as women are more likely to be nurses). She asserts that only 1% of senior staff in the RAF are women and that it was much harder for her to achieve promotion due to the fact that she was a nurse. She believes that the RAF’s policy of promoting from certain positions constituted a practice, criterion or provision which placed her (as she is female) at a particular disadvantage as compared to male colleagues. She states that she was left feeling “humiliated, demoralised and totally let down” by her treatment by the RAF and is seeking substantial damages for the discrimination. She is apparently due to retire from the RAF next year.
The Ministry of Defence is apparently vigorously defending the claim, which is due to be heard in a seven-day hearing before the Employment Tribunal later this year. A Ministry of Defence spokesman stated that Ms Williams’ claim for discrimination was completely denied and that they would be defending the claim.
If you think that you’ve been discriminated at work then it’s advisable that you obtain employment law advice from a specialist lawyer.
Redmans Solicitors are employment law solicitors and compromise agreement solicitors based in Central London