Two British women lose their industrial combat with American air bases after the US claim to have state immunity … even though the barracks are in the UK
- Women who worked at military bases in the UK were discriminated against
- Anthea Webster and Caroline Wright lost jobs at American flight bases on medical grounds
- They were told that misconduct claims against US authorities could not go ahead
Two British women who worked at US military bases in the UK rejected their labor court cases after the US claimed state immunity.
The women, both British taxpayers, were told that their cases could not be dealt with because they were employed by a & # 39; sovereign state & # 39; that falls outside the jurisdiction of the British courts.
One of them, Caroline Wright, was a firefighter at RAF Croughton, the American spy base in Northamptonshire, near the place where motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, died. He was killed in a car crash driven by the wife of an American intelligence officer who later fled the country with diplomatic immunity.
Miss Wright, 36, a mother of one from Oxford, said the tribunal verdict & # 39; begs faith & # 39; and that she would appeal.
Anthea Webster (left) and Caroline Wright (right) who worked at US military bases in the UK and who both rejected their labor court cases after the US claimed they had state immunity
RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire. Caroline Wright was a firefighter at RAF Croughton, the American spy base near where motorcyclist Harry Dunn, 19, died
The other woman, Anthea Webster, 51, worked at the RAF Lakenheath archive office in Suffolk for six years before being fired after she became ill.
Both brought their cases for unfair dismissal to a labor court, but after a joint hearing, a judge ruled that the respondent – simply referred to as & # 39; the United States of America & # 39; – & # 39; was entitled to invoke the principle of state immunity & # 39 ;.
This placed the respondent outside the jurisdiction of British courts and meant that he could not even look at their cases.
Judge George Foxwell said that both women were effectively employed by a sovereign state, despite the belief that they had worked for the US Air Force, not the United States itself. He said that America had not submitted to the jurisdiction of the tribunal – by way of a waiver – and therefore their claims were rejected. The judge admitted that the verdict & # 39; will undoubtedly seem unfair & # 39 ;.
At a five-day hearing in Cambridge, the US was represented by a prominent lawyer, Dan Sarooshi QC, a professor at Oxford University. The two women represented themselves.
Webster and Wright both brought their case before an employment court for unfair dismissal, but after a joint hearing, a judge ruled that the respondent – simply listed as & # 39; the United States of America & # 39; – & # 39; was entitled to rely on the principle of state immunity & # 39;
Miss Wright said: & # 39; The only hope I have to appeal is to see if someone has come forward and has offered to represent me pro bono. I don't see myself having the means to afford it. & # 39;
She started working as a firefighter at RAF Croughton in 2013 before being diagnosed with epilepsy in 2017.
Miss Wright said her bosses eventually offered her another role – an administrative job that paid £ 13,000 less per year – for which she had to type 40 words per minute, which she couldn't do.
& # 39; I had to learn to talk again after my illness & # 39 ;, she said. She resigned in January 2018 and later filed a claim for disability and gender discrimination.
A few months earlier, Mrs. Webster, a black woman suffering from chronic pain syndrome, had filed a claim that she had been exposed to unlawful sex, race, age and disability discrimination. She said her salary was lowered randomly.
Mrs. Webster, from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, said: "I am British, I have worked in British territory, but it seems that Americans can act the way they want – there is no responsibility."
Harry Dunn's parents take legal action in the US against the driver of the car, Anne Sacoolas, 42, after Donald Trump refused to waive immunity for her to return to England for questioning.
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