Female mechanic sues Network Rail for sex discrimination

A female mechanic was awarded more than £220,000 by Network Rail after a tribunal ruled she had been the victim of sex discrimination.

Laetitia Booth, a maintenance manager, sued the rail service after she was demoted and denied work in favour of her less-experienced male colleagues. She had worked in the industry for 14 years but lost one position to a man with just 18 months’ experience.

Booth had been employed by Jarvis Rail but when Network Rail failed to allocate her a new role after bringing its maintenance function in-house, she was effectively demoted. She resigned in January 2005 and took her case to an employment tribunal in Leeds.

The tribunal ruled that Network Rail had failed to follow agreed procedure and had discriminated against her.

Gerry Doherty, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA), said: “It’s a disgrace in this day and age that a woman, and one well as qualified as Laetitia Booth, was demoted simply because of her sex. As a publicly-owned company and the biggest employer in the railway industry, Network Rail should be leading the way in terms of promoting equal opportunities, not breaking the law.”

Booth said: “I thought the rest of my career was going to be in the railways but that is impossible now as Network Rail is the only relevant employer.”

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