February 19th, 2010
Join Date: Aug 2006
£7,000 for female soldier
Just £7,000 for female soldier in £500,000 sex case after she turned down offer to settle harassment claim
A female soldier who complained about explicit pornographic pictures in an Army restroom yesterday won a sexual harassment case against the Ministry of Defence.
But Lance Sergeant Donna Rayment, 41, driver for the commanding officer of the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), was awarded just £7,000 in damages after turning down an offer to settle for £60,000.
Miss Rayment was the only full-time female soldier to use the room, but when she complained to her superiors about the six framed pictures of women in 'sexually explicit poses', she was ignored.
She said her colleagues were 'officers but not gentlemen'.
Mother-of-one Miss Rayment said: 'I had to go and make my cups of tea and they were right there, it was intimidating.
The others would smirk at me, even though they were against the rules and I tried to ask them to take them down.'
Miss Rayment was awarded £7,000 damages for harassment she suffered in the Army, which she claimed led to her suffering from psychiatric illness.
But her solicitors, not the taxpayer, will have to pay the bulk of the estimated £500,000 legal costs.
The judge ordered the MoD to pay Miss Rayment's costs up to January 6 - when it made a £60,000 offer to settle - and her lawyers, who have conditional fee arrangement insurance, to pay the MoD's costs from then on.
That bill could be more than £350,000.
Mrs Justice Nicola Davies said the soldier had been the victim of 'oppressive and unacceptable' behaviour, and her colleagues' insistence on decorating the walls of a room where she worked with 'offensive' photos amounted to sexual harassment.
Last night Miss Rayment claimed the pictures were the 'tip of the iceberg'.
She said: 'The Army is the most sexist organisation you could think of.
The Army is a club - at the top they all pull together when you rattle the cage, and this is what happened here.
It was rife.'
Passing judgment at the High Court yesterday, Mrs Justice Davies said Miss Rayment, of Canvey Island, Essex, was entitled to damages over three events which exacerbated her recurrent depression to a mild to moderate degree for nine months.
These related to a meeting in May 2004 when she was wrongly told by Major Paul McCaffrey she no longer had the driver's job and had to repay a month's salary, and the 'unfair and unjust' circumstancesin which she was issued a final written warning in February 2005 and later discharged.
Miss Rayment brought a further 38 charges of harassment, but these were found not proven.
An MoD spokesman said: 'The MoD disputed the allegations brought by Miss Rayment.
Intimidation, humiliation, harassment, bullying or abuse is not tolerated in the Armed Forces.'
The ugly Hun.