Issue 660/July 2019
Your weekly bulletin of wit and wonder
SO LAST CENTURY
But wouldn't it have been cool to have stayed up all night to watch the moon landings. Did you...?
WHEN THE FORCE ISN'T WITH YOU
One tribunal leads to another in this police sex discrimination case.
MARKETING HE WROTE
Meet Dan, our literary new staffer.
WHERE WERE YOU?!
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. You may have noticed.
Everybody’s wallowing in nostalgia about watching Armstrong and Aldrin skipping across the craters – and I’m feeling left out.
I was only 18 months old when this all happened, so NO, I didn’t get woken up at 4am to watch history being made. I was born too late to sit, wide eyed, in front of the black and white telly and marvel at the unfolding events of July 1969.
So where were YOU? Very possibly not even born. And if you weren’t, then shame on you – because, with a bit more effort at kick-starting your conception, you might have been there!
There are loads of these ‘where were you?’ moments, of course. Where was I when Kennedy was assassinated? Still lollygagging around, unborn.
When Elvis died? In the kitchen with my granny, smoking her Embassy No 6s (her, not me. I was ten).
9/11? I was in a conference with Counsel and our client was worried that his son was in one of the towers. Turned out he had phoned in sick that day – amazing!
Gina remembers 9/11 too, even though she was only eight – but chiefly because that was the same day her hamster died. And Karen remembers going into her part time job in Etam and everyone going next door to JJB Sports to watch it unfold on their big TV screens.
When Diana died? It was the first night that baby Sophie slept through and Phil woke me up to tell me. I was so cross with him. I remember snapping “Well, she’ll still be dead when Sophie wakes up!” Perhaps not quite capturing the mood of the nation in our house…
But no. When it comes to the moon landings… I have nothing to add. And now I’ve got a bad case of FONBBATT.
Social media, combined with social history, has just created this new acronym. It’s not just FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) any more. It’s FONBBATT – Fear Of Not Being Born At The Time. Which, admittedly, doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so well.
How about you? Can you remember any of the above and what you were doing at the time? Share with us over on our Facebook page.
In the case of Higham and Escott v Greater Manchester Police, two senior female police officers - Ms Higham and Ms Escott - brought claims of sex discrimination before the Employment Tribunal after they had been placed on restricted duties subsequent to giving evidence in a separate tribunal claim.
Both officers worked in the professional services board (PSB) of Greater Manchester Police (GMP). They were witnesses for GMP in a tribunal claim brought against them by a former inspector, Scott Winters. Ms Higham disclosed to GMP’s lawyers that an allegation that had been raised against Mr Winters where he allegedly grabbed a female officer and pinned her against a wall.
The allegation was raised during the cross-examination of Mr Winters. Following the resolution of the claim, Mr Winters wrote to GMP stating the complaint was false and was never reported or investigated.
Both officers were referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following an independent investigation of the complaint, and were informed that they were being investigated for gross misconduct in relation to the testimony. Evidence submitted to the IPCC did in fact show that the complaint had been raised in 1998 along with other allegations of bullying.
While the IPCC investigation took place, both officers were removed from their responsibilities on the PSB and placed on restrictive duties. GMP argued that this was because of a blanket policy that was implemented when allegations were raised against an officer.
The officers brought a claim of sex discrimination alleging that the decision to place them on restricted duties was unfavourable treatment due to their sex. In order to be successful, the officers were required to compare the treatment they had received with a comparator of similar circumstances who did not share their protected characteristic of their sex.
The officers compared the treatment they had received to that of four male officers who had not been placed on restricted duties after an allegation had been raised against them.
The ET found in the officers’ favour, holding that the decision to place them on restricted duties was less favourable treatment when compared to male officers in similar circumstances, and finding the blanket policy as the reason for the restriction being weak. Ms Higham and Ms Escott were awarded a combined £42,500.
This case highlights the importance of ensuring that all staff are treated fairly and equally. It also shows that the cost of failing to do so can be considerable.
The Ageas Bowl, Botley Road, Southampton, HampshireRead more
A FRESH EYE IN MARKETING
The WG family has grown again, with the arrival this summer of Dan Holloway, our new Marketing Assistant.
English graduate Dan spent some time working within the opticians industry before his eye fell on more distant horizons and he went off to Spain for year. Now he’s back and putting his skills into our team. We were hoping for freshly cooked paella every Friday but actually, he just put up some reading charts...
T V H X U A H T Y O…
Dan’s also a keen creative writer. We suspect he’s actually setting a thriller here at WG Towers and only here for research…