Army slammed over discrimination case

A SINGLE mother who won a claim of race and sex discrimination against the Ministry of Defence has been awarded £17,016 by an employment tribunal.

Tilern DeBique, 28, from south London, who was reportedly seeking 1m, argued that she was expected to be available for duty "24/7, 365 days a year".

Panel chairman Jeremy Gordon said the former corporal was not

treated "on a level playing field" with other soldiers.

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An earlier hearing at the Central London Employment Tribunal was told that Ms DeBique was disciplined by the Army after missing a military parade to care for her daughter.

The panel heard she was told by a senior officer that the British Army was "a war-fighting machine unsuitable for a single mother who couldn't sort out her childcare arrangements".

Ms DeBique, who comes from the Caribbean Island of St Vincent, left the Army in April 2008, after submitting her resignation a year earlier.

Mr Gordon said the fact that immigration rules prevented her half-sister from moving to the UK permanently to help with childcare was discriminatory.

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He said: "The net result was, as the complainant put it, she was not on a level playing field with soldiers with family in the UK."

He told the hearing that, if an exception had been made, her career could have continued.

He said: "We found that such an exception would have put foreign and Commonwealth soldiers, and particularly the complainant, on a level playing field with soldiers with families who have the right of abode in the UK."

Mr Gordon said the experience had taken its toll, adding "we heard from more than one witness how she seemed to withdraw into herself and was tearful at meetings."

Mr Gordon said that it appeared from the way she was being dealt with that the Army no longer wanted her.

Ms DeBique had to see a psychiatrist at one point and was prescribed anti-depressants.