Devon Fire Service to pay £100,000 as former controller John Owers wins sex discrimination case

A fire-service controller has been awarded more than £100,000 in an out-of-court settlement after a tribunal found that he had been the victim of sex discrimination and spurious complaints.
 
John Owers, a controller with Devon Fire and Rescue Service claimed he was banned from his own control room, forced out of his job and subjected to undue stress and hurt feelings by his former colleague, Sarah Kelly.
 
Kelly, also a controller, made a total of 16 complaints against Owers over a three-year period, including one that he should not have taken a holiday in August, had called her boyfriend “mate” and refused to attend a colleague’s leaving party.
 
Last year an employment tribunal upheld Ower’s claim that he had been a victim of sex discrimination and that most of Kelly’ claims had been spurious.
 
The tribunal found that Owers had not been supported sufficiently by his employers, the Times reports.
 
Owers said: “I had done nothing wrong. She [Kelly] has a right to make an accusation but when she had done it six times I wanted to know when they were going to turn round to her and say ‘enough is enough’.”
 
Devon fire and rescue service agreed an out of court settlement earlier this week, reported to have been about £100,000,

The fire brigade said it had done everything it could to be even-handed and support both Kelly and Owers.

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