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stereotypes, respect and tolerance

BBC NEWS Tuesday, 15 September 2009 07:34 UK

‘Pretty’ prison officer wins case

Amitjo Kajla

A hearing will be held to see how much compensation Ms Kajla should receive

A former prison officer who said she was forced out of her job after being bullied because she was pretty has won her case for unfair dismissal.

Amitjo Kajla, 22, said she suffered the abuse at Brinsford Young Offenders’ Institution near Wolverhampton.

Her tribunal heard how former colleagues questioned her behaviour with male inmates and suggested she rejected advice about the dress code.

The tribunal has now issued a written judgement backing her claims.

Ms Kajla, who lives in Wolverhampton, also won claims for age and sex discrimination against HM Prison Service (HMPS).

The hearing in Birmingham in July heard Ms Kajla describe how she had been effectively sacked by Brinsford in April 2008 despite having no problems in her previous job at Shrewsbury prison.

‘Weak woman’

The written judgement said the tribunal accepted that under the circumstances, the treatment Ms Kajla was subjected to amounted to unfair dismissal.

In a statement, Ms Kajla said: “All I ever did was try to uphold the HMPS purpose statement, which clearly states that their duty is to ‘look after prisoners with humanity’ and I sought to apply that in my work by treating prisoners with respect.

“However, one officer didn’t like my way of working, which was counter to the macho approach he favoured.

“I was seen as a weak woman who could be bullied.”

A spokesman for the Prison Service said it was “disappointed” by the tribunal’s findings and said it would study them “carefully”.

The spokesman added: “The Prison Service takes all allegations of sexual harassment very seriously.”

A hearing will be held in early November to determine how much compensation Ms Kajla should receive.


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September 2009

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