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Friday, November 11, 2005

Airline must pay £25,000 to bullied transsexual worker
By Nicola Woolcock

A TRANSSEXUAL airline worker who was forced from her job by managers unhappy with her appearance won her claim of sexual discrimination yesterday. Marlene Davidson, 51, who was formerly called Malcolm, had an unblemished four-year career with the budget airline, Flybe.

But after beginning a sex-change procedure she was mocked, bullied and told to use disabled lavatories. Ms Davidson won her case at an employment tribunal in Exeter and has been awarded an undisclosed amount of damages, thought to be about £25,000.

She started her sex change in 1997, initially living as a woman at home and as a man while at work. But managers complained when she grew her hair and had her ears pierced.

Ms Davidson, from Feniton, Devon, was overlooked for promotion five times. She resigned in 2003, complaining that she had been forced out by discrimination. John Hollow, the tribunal chairman, criticised Flybe for failing to give her enough support. Don Darby, Flybe’s personnel manager, said that he had been “dumbfounded” to learn that Ms Davidson was undergoing a sex change.


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