Gay forensic expert wins huge payout after boss’s bizarre take on her sexuality

·2-min read

A gay forensic expert has won a huge payout after her boss made bizarre and offensive comments about her sexuality.

Jo Millington is a successful forensic expert and blood pattern specialist who has been called as witness in high-profile court cases, been featured in true crime documentaries and even advised on the BBC drama Silent Witness.

In 2012, she starred working as the lead forensic scientist at ArroGen Forensics in Oxfordshire, and was later promoted to scientific director.

But in 2017, she was forced to quit her job because of “upsetting” discrimination.

Millington had suggested the company launch a veterinary forensics service, but when her CEO, Joe Arend, was unhappy with how it was going, he called her in for a meeting.

In the meeting Arend asked her about her work-life balance, according to the employment tribunal judgement, to which she responded that she felt she didn’t have enough time to spend with her family and wife.

He then asked if she thought he had a problem with her because of her sexual orientation, and noted that he was “big and used to be a rugby player”.

Millington said she found the comments “upsetting and unprofessional”, and at the employment tribunal, Arend admitted he would not have asked the same questions had the forensic expert been married to a man.

Shortly after the meeting, she handed in her resignation.

Forensic expert Jo Millington was given tens of thousands in compensation

The tribunal ruled in Jo Millington’s favour, as it found that not only had Arend’s comments been “hostile and detrimental”, but the gay woman’s “decision to resign was also based on the aggravating factor of sexual orientation”.

It agreed that she had been unfairly dismissed, had suffered direct sexual orientation discrimination, and that she was dismissed without notice.

Now, a remedy hearing has decided that Millington should receive a payout of £91,540, including compensation for financial losses and injury to feelings.

According to the remedy judgement, Millington “was devastated by the way she was treated” by her boss, and that the comments about her sexuality were the “last straw”.

Her “discriminatory dismissal impacted significantly”, the judgement said, especially after details of her “sexuality, which she had chosen to keep private, were widely published in the media”.

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