Pictures courtesy of the Mail
Ben Parkinson (left) suffered 37 separate injuries in a landmine blast, lost both his legs and is severely brain damaged. He was offered £152,00 in compensation by the MoD.
Tilern DeBique (right), a woman who won a controversial sex discrimination claim over Army childcare, now wants an extraordinary £1.14 million in compensation.
Ben was eventually awarded £570,000 compensation but only after the government caved in to public outrage. His mother had to give up her job to look after him and got nothing.
Ms Debique's claim includes £473,535 for loss of earnings, £325,160 for loss of Army benefits, £315,562 for loss of pension rights, £18,000 for 'hurt feelings' and £10,000 in aggravated damages. Miss Debique admits turning down a UK posting with childcare facilities and applying for civilian jobs in Afghanistan before leaving the Army.
She quit her job as a technician in the 10th Signal Regiment in April 2008 after being disciplined for failing to appear on parade because of childcare difficulties for her daughter. Besides winning her landmark sex discrimination case she also won a claim for race discrimination because Army chiefs did not let her bring her half-sister from the Caribbean - where she was recruited - to look after her child.
She was offered a 'unique' five-year non-deployable posting to Blandford Army garrison in Dorset, which had childcare facilities, in 2007.
I remember the days when, if a female member of the armed forces married they had to resign their job. Thankfully those days are long gone.
As I understand it, when Ms Debique signed up with the Army it was her intention to leave her child in the Carribean where she could be looked after by family. She changed her mind later and brought her daughter to the UK then expected the Army to sponsor her half-sister to come and look after her niece.
I was a working mother yet I never expected my employer to arrange my childcare. Also I had a back-up arrangement plus an emergency arrangement - all rather costly but a fair solution for my peace of mind. Thousands of women continue to do that today. Most do not expect their employer to provide facilities.
This young woman earned £30,341 a year so surely she could have organised proper childcare. She knew when she joined the Army that her hours of duty would be variable. It was her responsibility to ensure her child was cared for in these circumstances, yet the Army did offer her a job which included childcare facilities. She said she "only had 4 days to make a decision" so handed in her year's notice in April 2007.
My sympathy lies with the taxpayer in this instance. We will have to pay Ms Debique's compensation which will be announced by the Central London Emplyment Tribunal tomorrow. My sympathy also lies with Ben Parkinson and his mother for the long fight they had to receive an amount of money which will go some way to assisting with his care.
Not everyone is suitable for every job as the case of Ms Debique starkly shows. I agree with her commanding officer who told her the Army was "unsuitable for a single mother who couldn't sort out her childcare arrangements". The Army work in teams and when one member of the team isn't pulling their weight, it affects everyone. Of course, in cases of medical or family emergency there has to be understanding from an employer but in this case it appears it was neither.