A police officer has been awarded £11,000 by an employment tribunal when her police dog was taken off her after she became pregnant. PC Katherine Keohane, a narcotics dog handler, was given “Nunki Pippin” as a trained police drugs dog.
However, when PC Keohane fell pregnant for the second time in less than 18 months, the Metropolitan Police decided to remove the dog as there was a shortage of the animals due to cut backs across the force and changes to its overall flexible working policy.
PC Keohane, who still works for the force, successfully sued it for direct pregnancy and maternity discrimination and received £9,000 for ‘injury to feelings’ and £2,584 for lost overtime as a direct result of the removal of her dog. The Watford tribunal heard she was so distressed as a result of Nunki Pippin’s removal that she broke down. A member of the public witnessed the breakdown on the train and called the police to report a crying pregnant policewoman.
In order to remain out of the ‘dog house’ employers should ensure internal policies and procedures are not discriminatory.