Hampshire firefighters took bets on who would sleep with female colleague, tribunal told

Male firefighters at Hampshire Fire and Rescue station took bets on who would be the first to sleep with a woman to join the crew, it has been alleged at tribunal.

Kate Ellis, 40, is claiming sexual discrimination and unfair dismissal after being forced to resign in 2008 as a result of alleged bullying, the Telegraph has reported.

She said she slept with station manager Mark Butler to end the harassment and “calm the situation”, the tribunal heard.

She told the tribunal that Butler said she could not do her job or drive the fire engine at the station in Kingsclere.

“Mark Butler said he could never totally rely on a female firefighter,” she said. “He said if I was in the crew he would count it as five plus one. He said I would give up too easily.”

Butler allegedly made remarks about other female firefighters. He is claimed to have said: “She’s fit. I wouldn’t mind getting into that fire kit,” and of another female firefighter, he allegedly said: “How could that do the job?”

Ellis’ husband Joe, also at the tribunal, claimed he had overheard a conversation in the pub between Butler and another male firefighter, during which they were said to be discussing there was “potential totty” joining the station.

“They said they did not want any females messing up their station and they would only cause trouble. However, they said the upside would be they would see who would get to f*** her. They also mentioned opening a book on who would do it first,” he said.

Butler was suspended from the station after Ellis launched a grievance procedure in 2006, but no formal disciplinary proceedings were launched against him – a decision that was upheld at an appeal sought by Ellis.

No formal disciplinary proceedings were launched against Butler, and an appeal against that decision by Ellis was dismissed, the tribunal was told.

The hearing continues.

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