One of Britain’s leading forensic scientists was a victim of sexual discrimination after she was asked by her boss whether she disliked him because she was gay, an employment tribunal has ruled.
Jo Millington, 46, has lent her expertise on blood patterns to several police forces over the past 25 years and came to wider public attention in 2018 when she appeared in a BBC crime documentary.
She launched a sex discrimination claim against her former employers ArroGen Forensics after the company’s CEO Joe Arend questioned whether her sexuality was the reason behind her apparent dislike of him, an employment tribunal in Reading was told.
The 46-year-old was left “upset and embarrassed” following a meeting in December 2017 in which she raised concerns she wasn’t spending enough time with her wife and family.
Mr Arend asked whether Ms Millington had an issue with him “because of her sexuality”, pointing out he was “big” and “used to play rugby”, the tribunal heard. She resigned shortly after the encounter.
The panel was told Ms Millington had previously complained about Mr Arend’s behaviour when he referred to the level of her expenses and salary as “crazy”.
Ms Millington launched a sex discrimination claim against the firm, questioning how Mr Arden’s “unprofessional” reference to her sexual orientation was relevant to her work.
The employment panel today found the company guilty of sexual orientation discrimination, constructive dismissal and breach contract, meaning Ms Millington is now entitled to compensation.
It concluded: “Miss Millington regarded her sexual orientation as a private matter (as she was entitled to do), and the question to her about it was upsetting and embarrassing. She would have preferred it not to have been asked.”“Her reputation and credibility underpin her career.”
Under cross-examination, Mr Arend admitted he would not have enquired about sexual orientation if a female employee had commented about not having enough time to spend with “my family and my husband”.
Ms Millington rose to public attention when she appeared in the 2018 BBC documentary Conviction: Murder in Suburbia, examining the conviction of Glyn Razzell for the death of his wife Linda in 2002.
She had joined ArroGen Forensics in 2012 as the lead forensic scientist to review forensic evidence in criminal cases and appear in court as an expert witness.