Transgender woman vows to continue fighting police over bullying that led to dismissal
A TRANSEXUAL woman who has claimed she was bullied out of her job with the police has vowed to keep up her fight.
She failed in her latest bid to sue the police for unfair dismissal.
Jan Irvine, worked as a traffic warden with Lothian and Borders Police before taking up a post in the communications centre.
The 59-year-old from Bonnyrigg had a sex-change operation after undergoing counselling and hormone treatment in 2003.
Ms Irvine has already taken the force to two separate employment tribunals, claiming she was “forced” out of her job after alleged bullying incidents she said surrounded her sex-change.
The first hearing, on the grounds of sex discrimination, was time-barred as some of her claims went too far back.
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 from the judge and two lay members. But I want to sit down and look at it and 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 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 £1,000 from 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.”
Before her operation, on the NHS, Ian Irvine was a married man with children. Ms Irvine said she no longer sees her ex-wife or children.
She said: “I’ve had a lot of support from the public. I’ve never had any problems walking down the street. I’m originally from Loanhead just down the road, so I’m quite local and everyone knows me. People round here are very protective of me.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: South west