Former civil servant claims he was sacked for not being feminist
Former civil servant launches legal case claiming he was sacked for not being a feminist
- Kevin Legge, 50, said he was forced out of his job for not being a feminist
- He is taking legal action against the Enivornment Agency as a result
- He said said the interview process was ‘biased in favour of women over men’
A former Environment Agency manager is taking legal action against the body claiming he was a victim of discrimination for not being a feminist.
Kevin Legge, 50, says he was forced out of his job at the government agency after taking a stand on his boss’ agenda to promote women over men.
He has made a claim to an employment tribunal, arguing feminism is a belief system he does not follow.
The agency denies his claim and says he was sacked for moonlighting as a counsellor during work hours.
But the agency’s attempt to have the case thrown out was dismissed by Judge Martin Warren, who ordered a full hearing.
Kevin Legge, 50, says he was forced out of his job at the Environment Agency after taking a stand on his boss’ agenda to promote women over men
He said: ‘Mr Legge’s claim of discrimination on the grounds of religion or philosophical belief is that he says those about whose actions he complains are feminists which, he says, is a philosophical belief he does not hold.’
Mr Legge, a father of one who was based in Peterborough, argued that he was treated less favourably than he would have been had he been a feminist.
He said colleagues used an interview process with wording and scores ‘biased in favour of women over men’.
Mr Legge, who joined the agency as a technical manager in 2005, fell out with his boss Joanna Larmour – now head of its National Enforcement Service – in 2019.
‘A prevailing theme of Mr Legge’s case is that the (EA) management were pursuing a feminist agenda, seeking to appoint or promote women rather than men to management positions,’ the tribunal heard.
Mr Legge, who was based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, said in a submission that he refused ‘to do (their) bidding by favouring women over men in recruitment or promotion’ as it would have amounted to sex discrimination.
He cited alleged incidents including one in July 2019 when he told Ms Larmour he would not ‘positively discriminate’ after rejecting a female candidate based on merit.
Another clash with Ms Larmour occurred in early 2020 when she allegedly stopped him from appointing a man to a senior adviser role despite him being ‘the best candidate’.
Mr Legge claims he was advised to take on a less qualified female candidate when he protested at being told to re-advertise the post.
He also says he was discriminated against for being a single parent.
A formal grievance was lodged by Mr Legge about his treatment in May 2020. But the agency launched disciplinary action against him and he was dismissed for dishonesty in April last year.
Alleged misconduct included working as a counsellor during work hours, causing an ‘adverse effect on his duties’.
Mr Legge, who describes himself as an experienced qualified psychotherapist in an online profile, launched proceedings after his dismissal and a hearing took place in Norwich in June.
In a judgment published yesterday, Judge Martin Warren ordered a full hearing because he ‘cannot properly form a view… without having heard the evidence’.
He added: ‘Mr Legge’s claim of discrimination on the grounds of religion or philosophical belief is that he says those about whose actions he complains are feminists which, he says, is a philosophical belief he does not hold.
Mr Legge, a father of one who was based in Peterborough, argued that he was treated less favourably than he would have been had he been a feminist
‘He says that he has been discriminated (against) because he does not hold that philosophical belief. He says that he was treated less favourably than he would have been had he been a feminist.
‘His case is that, had he been a woman, (Ms Larmour) would not have treated him this way and, had he been a feminist, she would not have treated him this way.
‘Ms Larmour sought to manage him out and ostracise him in order to meet the gender targets and victimise him.
‘It is a central plank to Mr Legge’s discrimination case that (the agency) was pursuing a policy of positive discrimination in favour of women (which he describes as a feminist agenda), which he was resisting.’
The full hearing will take place later this year.
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