AFTER years of costly legal battles, a former Royal Navy wren who claims she was passed over for promotion due to sexual discrimination has had her case put back to ‘square one’ by top judges.
Jacqueline Cartner, 41, claims she fell victim to sexual bias in January 2008 when a male colleague at Fareham’s HMS Collingwood was promoted to warrant officer ahead of her. The navy has fought the claims and Mrs Cartner has won two tribunal hearings – only for Appeal Court judges to rule yesterday she must start all over again with a fresh employment tribunal. Lord Justice Maurice Kay said it was regrettable that ‘after three substantive hearings, nothing has reached finality’.
The judge added: ‘No doubt very substantial costs have been incurred on both sides.’
The legal battle is a big issue for the Ministry of Defence which fears a flood of costly copycat cases if it loses against Mrs Cartner.
When wrens were first allowed to serve in warships in 1993, women who opted not to go to sea were told it would not affect their career. But Mrs Cartner, who was made an MBE in 2001, claims the navy promotion board ‘under-valued her achievements’ and placed ‘unfair emphasis’ on her non-seagoing status.
Mrs Cartner’s husband, Commander Graham Beard, who is also now retired from the navy, said ‘She’s now just waiting to see what happens. This case has dominated her life over the last few years.’