Pattaya Daily News

15 April 2010 :: 12:04:05 pm 18226

Unfair Payouts in Compensation

Two different army payouts, one to a soldier who suffered 37 injuries in a landmine explosion and the other is to a woman claiming discrimination.
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England 15th April 2010 [Pattaya Daily News] A soldier in the Queens army who suffered 37 injuries in a land mine blast, has been offered a measly 152,000 pounds for losing both legs and suffering severe brain damage amongst other injuries.

The other is a woman who won a controversial sex discrimination claim over Army childcare demanding an extraordinary £1.14million, seven times more than the Army hero who lost both legs.

Yesterday there was a storm of protest over the unfairness of the very different handling of these two cases. The amount being demanded by Tilern DeBique is seven times the amount offered to severely-wounded paratrooper Ben Parkinson who will need continuous care for the remainder of his life.

Miss DeBique’s claim emerged at an employment tribunal after the single mother successfully argued that she was forced to choose between a military career and the care of her four-year-old daughter.

The £1,142,257 total includes £473,535 for loss of earnings, £325,160 for loss of Army benefits, £315,562 for loss of pension rights, £18,000 for ‘hurt feelings’ and £10,000 in aggravated damages.

Mr. Parkinson’s mother, Diane Dernie told reporters, ‘I was forced out of my job to look after my child and I got nothing.’ Her son, who was initially offered £152,000, was eventually awarded £570,000 but only after the Government gave in to public outrage.

Mrs. Dernie continued, ‘I can’t see how Ben and all these other boys’ lives are worth so much less. These soldiers have done their duty, they have done their job but their careers are over. This woman can get another job but for Ben, that’s it, for life.’

Lord Guthrie, a former Chief of Defense Staff, described Miss DeBique’s claim as a ‘crazy and highly unrealistic amount of money’. He added, ‘I think in comparison with soldiers who put their lives on the line, their widows and those who are wounded, it’s indecent.’

General Sir Mike Jackson, former Chief of the General Staff and head of the Army during the Iraq invasion, called the amount ‘an extraordinary figure’. Miss DeBique, [28] who calls herself SexyT on her MySpace webpage, has admitted turning down a UK posting with childcare facilities and applying for civilian jobs in Afghanistan before she left the Army.

She left her job as a technician in the 10th Signal Regiment in April 2008 after being disciplined for not attending a parade because of childcare difficulties for her daughter now four. Besides winning her sex discrimination case Miss DeBique also won a claim for race discrimination because Army chiefs did not let her bring her half-sister from the Caribbean where she was employed to look after her child. Her victory has left senior officers facing a nightmare task of having to consider soldiers’ childcare problems before issuing orders.

Her claim of over £1.14million she says is because she would have stayed in the Army until 2023, instead of being forced to quit her £30,341-a-year job after seven years of service. The MOD’s barrister Keith Morton branded her compensation ‘ perverse’ and said it was ‘unreasonable’ that Miss DeBique turned down a post that offered childcare whilst applying for highly paid civilian jobs in Afghanistan.

Miss DeBique was offered a ‘unique’ five-year non-deployable post at Blandford Army garrison in Dorset, which had childcare facilities, in 2007. She went on to say she felt unable to accept the post because she was given only four days to make a decision and because of the Army’s previous failure to address her childcare needs and handed in her year’s notice in April 2007. Miss Debique, who lives in Tooting, South West London, quit her job when she was disciplined for failing to be available for duty around the clock. Her commanding officer told her the Army was ‘unsuitable for a single mother who couldn’t sort out her childcare arrangements’. The Central London Employment Tribunal panel is due to announce its compensation award later today.

Reporter : Victoria Pollard

Category : World News

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