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Suffolk woman awarded £24,000 in compensation after winning employment tribunal against UK Power Networks

PUBLISHED: 08:22 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:44 15 February 2018

Amy Arnold, who won her employment tribunal case. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Amy Arnold, who won her employment tribunal case. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A Suffolk woman has been awarded £24,000 in compensation after winning a sex discrimination case against her employer.

Amy Arnold who won her employment tribunal case. Picture: GREGG BROWNAmy Arnold who won her employment tribunal case. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Procurement specialist Amy Arnold, from Red Lodge, was awarded the payout following an employment tribunal with UK Power Networks after being denied equal pay and a promotion.

The 27-year-old was found to be the victim of “direct discrimination” after the judge stated the power company were “constantly moving the goalposts” over an equal pay issue with male colleagues.

She also “never stood a chance of an equal playing field” when she was overlooked for a promotion, the judge said.

UK Power Networks, which has branches across Suffolk including in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds, agreed to train all members of its procurement staff in the Equality Act following the tribunal.

Miss Arnold said: “I don’t regret taking it to court. It wasn’t an easy decision but I’m pleased that the judge saw that I was being treated unfairly.

“It wasn’t about the money, it was the principle and I’ve lost more than I’ve been awarded. I lost out on a promotion and the chance to progress my career.

“I hope this ruling will give others the confidence to stand up for themselves if they are being treated unfairly.”

In December 2014, Miss Arnold found out she was not being paid in line with male colleagues and raised concerns in January 2015.

Over the 18 months that followed, she pursued the issue and was asked to achieve professional qualifications and was later told she needed to meet certain performance criteria to achieve a pay rise.

However, despite meeting targets she was then told pay was not in the management’s remit.

In November 2016, Miss Arnold applied for a promotion to the position of tactical procurement lead but was unsuccessful.

The judge said: “If one looks at the interview process itself, similar if not the same answers were given by the claimant as the successful candidate and yet she was marked down.”

Miss Arnold currently works in a different team for the company at Barton Road in Bury St Edmunds.

The tribunal in Norwich found Miss Arnold was victimised under section 26 of the Equality Act 2010 and subjected to less favourable treatment on the grounds of her sex.

Jane Copley, legal officer for trade union Prospect, who supported Miss Arnold in her case, said: “At a time when the gender pay gap is high on the agenda this ruling is a clear signal that things must change.

“Amy was able to clearly demonstrate how she had been treated differently and the fact that the goalposts kept changing.

“This judgement is vindication for her difficult decision to tackle being overlooked in a male dominated workplace.”

A spokesman for UK Power Networks said: “UK Power Networks respects the decision of the employment tribunal and has taken on its findings and recommendations by putting in place a programme of retraining for our employees to ensure our commitment to fairness.”

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