P&O denies unfair dismissal but admits sexual discrimination

P&O Ferries has admitted a transsexual crew member suffered sexual discrimination but denied unfair dismissal claims. 

Drusilla Marland told a Southampton employment tribunal that her engine room colleagues made jokes about her sex change. Marland claimed that she was unfairly dismissed from the Pride of Bilbao after her gender reassignment.

The company admitted sexual discrimination but said Marland had been offered other suitable work during her three year employment in 2002 to 2005.

Marland said her male colleagues frequently made discriminatory comments, referred to her as “he” and would say things such as “We are all men here”.

P&O Ferries’ HR assistant Sandra Ray told the tribunal that Marland’s co-workers felt awkward about her gender reassignment.

Ray said she had investigated Marland’s complaints and that her colleagues had admitted making inappropriate comments.

“The standard of behaviour of Ms Marland’s workers in the engine room was not what was expected. Most was out of ignorance and not malice,” Ray said.

Ray said Marland was told better training would be given to staff about how to react to someone who was transsexual, and she was offered other posts, but that Marland had made it clear she was only interested in compensation.

The case continues.

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