Council pays out £25,000

Mrs Sharon Douglas was paid �25,000 in a sexual discrimination case against Causeway Coast and Glens Council.' Photo: Arthur Allison.
Mrs Sharon Douglas was paid �25,000 in a sexual discrimination case against Causeway Coast and Glens Council.' Photo: Arthur Allison.

A Limavady woman who accused a Northern Ireland council of sex discrimination has been paid £25,000 in a settlement.

Sharon Douglas brought the case against Causeway Coasts and Glens Borough Council alleging sexual discrimination. The money was paid without admission of liability.

Ms Douglas, who worked as a yard/store person at the Limavady depot, alleged that she was discriminated against in allocation of overtime and training facilities and that she was subjected to harassment.

She had been the only female employed in the technical services section of the council’s Environmental Services department before she resigned in May 2018.

Ms Douglas said: “Other employees in the yard - all men - were allowed to put themselves forward for overtime on Saturdays and public holidays... but when I asked to be considered in the same way, I was refused.

“The reasons given made no sense to me. I was told it was because I hadn’t been trained on some of the machines but, when I asked for training, that was also refused.”

She added: “I complained about my treatment and said I thought it was sex discrimination, but that was responded to with abusive language.

“At another time, I was asked to go to a different site when inspectors were visiting, to clean the kitchen and the toilets, which was not my job. I was told that the toilets ‘needed a woman’s touch’.”

Ms Douglas added: “The whole thing affected me badly and I was off work with stress.

“When I raised the issue directly, and flagged up my concern that this was sex discrimination, the first response I got was rude and dismissive.”

Her complaint through the council’s grievance procedures left her very dissatisfied with the length of the process and the way it was handled.

“I was deeply hurt and upset, both by my initial treatment and the way my complaints were dealt with.”

Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission Michael Wardlow said: “The council has agreed, in this settlement, to meet with the commission and review its policies, practices and procedures to ensure that they comply in all respects with its obligations.”

Ms Douglas was paid £10,000 for injury to feelings and £15,000 for loss of earnings.