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Lesbian soldier sees pounds 187k payout for sex harassment cut.

A lesbian ex-soldier from Birmingham who won pounds 187,000 damages after being sexually harassed has had her payout cut.

Former Lance Bombardier Kerry Fletcher was awarded the lump sum by an employment tribunal in November for sex discrimination, victimisation and sexual harassment.

The tribunal heard that a male sergeant had made sexual advances towards her and bragged he could turn her straight.

She was pestered for sex and was sent explicit text messages while working in the stables at RAF Topcliffe in North Yorkshire in 2004, the original tribunal heard.

At the appeal hearing Mrs Justice Slade said Ms Fletcher was not entitled to pounds 50,000 "exemplary damages", which had been awarded in a bid to "punish and deter" the Army.

Mrs Justice Slade said that the conduct of the Army had been "rightly condemned" and she hoped lessons had been learned from the case.

"The Army's conduct, deplorable though it was found to be, did not cross the high threshold warranting an award of exemplary damages," the judge said.

The judge also reduced aggravated damages awarded to Ms Fletcher from pounds 20,000 to pounds 8,000, bringing the total she has to pay back to pounds 62,000.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "The MoD has noted the Employment Appeal Tribunal's Judgment and is considering its implications to see what lessons can be learned for the future.

The MoD takes this further opportunity to apologise to Ms Fletcher for the conduct towards her, which was found in the Leeds Employment Tribunal judgment to be discriminatory. "There is no place for harassment or discrimination of any sort in the Armed Forces."

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 16, 2009
Words:281
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