Durham Council has been ordered to pay £131,000 to a social
worker after a tribunal ruled that she had been a victim of sex
The tribunal was told that Barbara Miller’s problems in the
council’s social services department began in November 2001 when “a
laddish culture” led to her being overlooked for promotion in
favour of a man who did not have the required qualifications for
The tribunal found that the council had practised wholesale
breaches of procedure and contempt for equal opportunities.
It concluded that the rules had been changed to allow selection of
the male candidate when there was no doubt that Miller was the most
academically qualified for the post.
In one of the highest awards of its kind, the council was ordered
to pay Miller £80,000 for loss of earnings, £41,000 for
loss of pension rights and £8,000 for injury to feelings. A
further £2,000 was awarded for aggravated damages.
A spokesperson for the council said: “We are studying the make-up
of the award to ascertain what challenge we will be making, if any.
“Disciplinary proceedings are still an option for the future and an
investigation is still ongoing.”