Copyright ReutersBad publicity what and other news agencies and newspapers released just a few hours ago: A Southampton, England tribunal has found Sting and his wife Trudie Styler guilty of “shameful conduct” when they fired former chef Jane Martin while she was pregnant. Martin’s GBP28,000 ($56,000) a year job with Sting, real name Gordon Sumner, and Styler was terminated in April 2006 after eight years of service. A tribunal has ruled the couple had unfairly dismissed Martin and that she had been the victim of sexual discrimination. The tribunal heard in March 2007 how Styler created a “climate of fear” over her staff. Martin claimed she was forced to work 14 hour days while pregnant and Styler was not sympathetic when she experienced sickness early in her pregnancy. Styler was alleged to have raged, “Who the f**k does she think she is? She’s my chef in the UK. She needs to be available if I need her, or she should rethink her position,” when Martin fell ill with stomach trouble. The tribunal ruling said, “(Martin’s departure) was so badly mishandled and conducted in such an incompetent manner that the true purpose shines through the subterfuge and calumnious actions seeking to suppress the true facts. “Although Mrs Sumner (Styler) tried to distance herself from the various unlawful acts and have them carried out by minions on her behalf, when the evidence is looked at holistically, her involvement is clear. “She is without doubt the driving force manipulating others to perform her ‘dirty work’. The position is aggravated by her lack of courage either to face the claimant directly and inform her she was no longer required or attend the tribunal to give evidence and have her machinations exposed to the light of day through cross-examination.” The singer and his producer/actress wife must pay compensation to Martin. Martin’s compensation payout will be decided at a hearing on June 8 2007. There is no limit on the amount awarded in sexual discrimination cases meaning Sting could be forced to pay record damages for a case involving a domestic servant.
Styler has released a statement, saying, “I am devastated by this decision and I will appeal… I wholly reject the tribunal’s findings on this issue. Sting and I have been lucky over many years to have worked with loyal and long serving colleagues and staff. “Their collective loyalty and long service suggests that the picture of our household which Jane painted, and which the tribunal appears to have accepted, is a travesty… I am devastated that the tribunal’s judgment makes this unjust and unfair attack on Sting and me. It does not, we believe, reflect the facts which were put before the hearing and we will be appealing.”
She went on: “Jane Martin was always treated well and generously as an employee and we remain stunned at her actions and at the verdict of the tribunal. For Jane to suggest that I, as a mother, discriminated against her because of her pregnancy is risible to anyone who knows me. I wholly reject the tribunal’s findings on this issue and many other issues.”
The celebrity couple’s solicitors Kerman and Co said they were “We are astonished at the decision which flies in the face of the significant concessions which Jane Martin was forced to give under crossexamination. Some of the tribunal’s findings appear to be perverse and there will be an appeal. What is also disturbing is the unfair, unprecedented and unwarranted attack which the tribunal has chosen to make against Sting and Trudie Styler, which is inexplicable.”

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