Transsexual driver wins sex discrimination claim
A transsexual lorry driver has won a sex discrimination claim after being forced out of her job weeks after arriving dressed as a woman. Vikki-Marie Gaynor, formerly known as Mike, started having shifts cancelled and being abused by fellow workers at haulage firm Exel, part of DHL.
Vikki-Marie Gaynor, a pre-operative transsexual, formerly known as Mike, and a former soldier, joined DHL as a driver through the Blue Arrow recruitment agency in October 2006. She told bosses in February 2007 of her intentions to go through the gender reassignment process.
The tribunal heard that the discriminatory behaviour started when Ms Gaynor arrived for a shift wearing make-up and jewellery. Colleagues began harassing her, calling her a ‘queer’ and making offensive gestures towards her, including putting their hands over their backsides. Then, after Ms Gaynor’s belongings and make-up were removed from her lorry and dumped in a bin liner in a disabled toilet at the DHL base in Kirkby, she started having shifts cancelled. Her complaints to both DHL and Blue Arrow were ignored and she resigned.
The tribunal found that Blue Arrow had failed to challenge the discriminatory behaviour of DHL and to support Ms Gaynor when she informed them of the problem by not dealing with her grievances adequately. It also ruled that DHL did remove Ms Gaynor from her usual run and allocated her runs whereby she was more likely to be “the butt of ribald comments”, which amounted to less favorable treatment on grounds of her gender reassignment status. A remedies hearing will decide compensation.
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