28 August 2013
Devon sex discrimination victim settles with employer
A lawyer has settled her sexual discrimination case with former employer Follet Stock.
Kate Baker argued she was sacked from the firm after starting a relationship, as managing partner Chris Lingard had previously warned her she had to remain single and not fall pregnant, This is Cornwall reports.
While giving a statement to Exeter Tribunal, Ms Baker - who earned £45,000 a year in her role and had been managing her own caseload since 2004 - said there was a culture of bullying at the legal practice, with employees not allowed to talk to each other between the hours of 09.00 and 13.00 every day.
Mr Lingard was also alleged to have been rude to a number of staff members, often criticising them, despite the fact the organisation claimed to adopt "an informal and light hearted approach".
"I am of the opinion that Mr Lingard believed he lost control when I started a relationship and this was the true reason for dismissal. Mr Lingard on many occasions told me that he did not want me in a relationship or to have babies," Ms Baker said in her statement.
She also received a text message from Mr Lingard's wife - Fiona Higgins, a business director at Follet Stock - saying that she was expected to remain single while employed by the firm.
Ms Baker revealed her confidence took a battering while working for the legal practice, as she went from winning prizes and leading the Exeter office to "being downtrodden" as a result of the lack of support she received.
The 33-year-old also claimed she was forced to take on weekend marketing activities because of her relationship status, while male colleagues who had families were excused from these duties.
A joint statement was released on August 27th saying both parties had reached a settlement in the case and therefore claims of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination and unfair dismissal will no longer be going before the courts.
By Francesca Witney
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