A transsexual police officer has had her employment tribunal claim for discrimination and harassment after she claimed that she had been offended by having to “out” herself at work.
PC Emma Chapman made her Employment Tribunal claims after she complained that she had been forced to “out” herself over the radio system whilst working for Essex Police. She stated that the first incident had occurred in October 2012 when the operator of the radio system questioned her sexuality, stating that she had a “male voice”. PC Chapman stated that she was then forced to announce that she was a transsexual over the radio system, a fact that left her “very distressed”. She stated that two further incidents occurred in June 2013 when she was again challenged by operators who questioned her identity. She subsequently brought Employment Tribunal claims for discrimination on the grounds of her sexual orientation and sexual orientation-related harassment.
The Employment Tribunal heard the case in November 2013 and released its judgment later that month. It found against PC Chapman in her claims for discrimination and harassment, finding that she had not been treated less favourably because of her sexual orientation and that she had not suffered treatment which could reasonably be constructed as creating an “intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment” for her to work in.
PC Chapman was criticized by the Employment Tribunal as being “over-sensitive” (possibly because she was going through a stressful time in her personal life), that the reaction of the radio operators was not intended to cause her offence and that it was not reasonable for her to be offended by the actions of the operators.
It was reported that PC Chapman does not intend to appeal against the findings of the Employment Tribunal.
Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “In claims of harassment in the Employment Tribunal, the complainant must establish that they were subject to conduct (or, sometimes, an omission) which had the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them to work in. Whether it was reasonable for the complainant to have suffered ‘offence’ by the action or omission is normally an important legal point and one which was crucial in this particular case.”
Please note that Redmans Solicitors were not associated in any way with this case