Hertfordshire Police faces £93,000 sex discrimination payout over inflexible attitude to female officer

A policewoman who was prevented from working flexible hours after returning from maternity leave has won £93,000 for sex discrimination.

Michelle Butler resigned from Hertfordshire Police with post-natal depression and exhaustion after being made to work rotating shifts from 7am to 11pm.

Butler claimed her manager, inspector Nigel Dalkin, refused her repeated requests to work more flexible hours or to transfer her to a different department.

The Watford employment tribunal found that there had been “no investigation as to whether or not Miss Butler could be accommodated” and that the force has ignored that fact she was “exhibiting signs of exhaustion”.

Butler, who became pregnant in August 2002 after 10 months of service and returned to work in January 2004, said: “I was crying a lot. I was missing my daughter and they were not taking my condition seriously.”

She was awarded £93,000 in compensation for past wages and two years lost wages plus £2,600 in interest.

Pauline Lawrence, head of HR at Hertfordshire Police, said: “We are reviewing our policies and procedures in light of the tribunal findings.”

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