Transsexual loses bullying case against police bosses

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A TRANSSEXUAL who claims she was bullied out of her job as a traffic warden has vowed to keep fighting after failing in her latest bid to sue police for unfair dismissal.

Jan Irvine – formerly Ian – from Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, worked with Lothian and Borders Police before taking up a post in its communications centre.

She first “came out” in 2001, and two years later had a sex-change operation.

Ms Irvine, 59, has already taken the force to two separate employment tribunals, claiming she was “forced” out of her job after alleged bullying she said surrounded her sex-change.

The first hearing, on the grounds of sex discrimination, was time-barred as some of her claims went back too far.

The second, which she recently found out she lost, was heard last year on the grounds of bullying and harassment.

Ms Irvine is waiting for a written judgment from the Employment Tribunals Service, and will then have 46 days to appeal against the decision.

She said: “I resigned because I felt forced out. I tried to go back but they wouldn’t let me.

“I was told verbally that I had lost. It was a unanimous decision, but I want to see if there is anything in there that I can appeal.

“I’m fighting for justice. I just want them to acknowledge what they did was wrong.

“The first case for sex discrimination was time-barred, but I didn’t lose it. I will keep fighting for others like me and for justice.”

Ms Irvine also claims she was “used” by the force when details of her desire to become a woman were made public.

“They used me as a figure of equality when they brought in their transgender policy,” she said. “I was contacted by the HR department specially to do pictures for the press. They used my situation to their advantage.”

Ms Irvine said she was offered £1000 by the force after the first tribunal to “settle” the issue, which she declined.

She said: “Part of the agreement was that I was not allowed to speak publicly about my time with that police authority, and I didn’t want that.

“It’s been hard trying to fight them. They have one of the best lawyers in the country and at both of the hearings I was representing myself. I do have a lawyer that I use for advice and I’ve spent all of my money on that. I’ll keep fighting if I can.”

In a message posted on the staff intranet after the conclusion of the industrial tribunal, Lothian and Borders Police said: “You may be aware that a former member of staff in the FCC [force communications centre], Jan Irvine, pursued a constructive dismissal claim against the force through the employment tribunal process.

“The tribunal process is now completed and the determination was in favour of the force with no element of the claim by the former member of staff being substantiated.

“I am pleased to acknowledge that certain members of staff, who had been unfairly identified as being unprofessional towards the claimant, have been publicly vindicated.

“The force is always disappointed when a member of staff chooses to leave the organisation. However, we knew the claim was groundless and we were determined to defend the integrity of divisional management and the force.”