Former Kent police officer loses disability claim

A former police officer who claimed she was victimised after being diagnosed with a voice condition has lost her claim for disability discrimination.

Catherine Gilbert was diagnosed with spasmodic dysphonia, which makes it difficult for the sufferer to speak.

The 36-year-old, from Sittingbourne, tried to sue Kent Police, claiming they failed to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate her condition.

But a tribunal panel at Ashford unanimously dismissed her claims.

In a reserved judgment, the panel ruled that Ms Gilbert was "not disabled for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act".

'Bullied out'

Ms Gilbert said she began having problems with the way she was treated in April 2008 when she was working for the Medway division.

She told the tribunal she felt "resented" by her colleagues as she was the only woman in her team and was given no training in the role.

Ms Gilbert, whose condition makes her voice shake and she sometimes stutters over words, said she applied to train to become a dog handler, but claimed she was "bullied out".

Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Allyn Thomas said he was sorry Ms Gilbert was unable to pursue her career.

He added: "It is important that officers who are selected for a role are able to meet the necessary standards."

Ms Gilbert was unavailable for comment.

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