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Police lose appeal in gay officer’s unfair dismissal case

A former Metropolitan Police officer who claims he was victimised for being black and gay has had his unfair dismissal ruling upheld in the court of appeal.

The Metropolitan Police tried overturn the judgement in February 2012 which ruled Kevin Maxwell, a detective constable, had suffered in “an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”.

The force appeal claimed Mr Maxwell’s memory of events was unreliable and that he had failed to prove his claims of racism and homophobic discrimination at the original tribunal.

But a 35-page judgement issued this week rejected the police claims.

Mr Maxwell said after the hearing: “I have been fighting a long battle for the MET to recognise its mistreatment of me and others like me.

“Despite today’s judgment, the MET still has not acknowledged the abuse I endured; nor has it addressed the institutionalised racism and homophobia with which it is still rife.

“When those who have suffered such discrimination speak out, instead of being listened to, the MET bullies them into silence. If only the MET would hear today’s wake-up call and, rather than paying it lip-service, begin to take this matter seriously.”

The original tribunal heard how Mr Maxwell, 34, became depressed due to constant discrimination in his job working in counter-terrorism at Heathrow Airport.

He was then advised by a Detective Chief Inspector to leave his job within Scotland Yard and work as a police officer in a London Borough where “there are more officers of his age and more diversity”.

The judgement concluded that Mr Maxwell being told to move to another job where he was “less likely to expose racism and homophobia” was evidence that it existed on a daily basis, and that officers were worried raising concerns would be “damaging our good name”.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: “We are disappointed by the Employment Appeals Tribunal’s decision and will now take time to consider the detail of the judgment.

“Mr Maxwell’s claims relate to events in 2009 and 2010. Since that time there have been changes across a number of areas including how to report wrongdoing and managing employees on sick leave.

“Any other learning opportunities identified from this case will be taken forward.”

  • If you feel you have a case for unfair dismissal or need advice, call one of our Employment Law experts at our Sheffield office on 0114 296 5444.
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