57 year old Marie Auma, is suing the Met Police for 400,000 pounds over claims that her colleagues subjected her to harassment and passing gas next to her desk.
She told a court that officers and staff at Southwark Police Station conspired to harass and bully her with two officers regularly passing gas near her in a “primitive” and “loud” manner.
She said the harassment began in 2007 when she was refused leave to visit her 2 brothers’ graves after they died in a car crash in Kenya and ended in her being medically retired with mental health difficulties, the court heard.
Ms Auma is suing for 400,000 compensation in a trial at Central London County Court. The Met denies liability.
Judge Simon Freeland QC heard Ms Auma, whose job involved liaising with crime victims on the Telephone Investigations Bureau, had been the victim of “21st Century bullying.”
- She said:”It was two of them – PC Andy Whiting and Ray Clement – who would do this kind of behaviour.
“PC Whiting was passing wind when he came and stood right in front of me, passing wind in a very primitive way. It made a “brrrp” noise.
“He would come and stand right in front of me and blew the wind loudly and then left.
“It was normally when I was on a late shift that they would behave in that manner.”However, Iain Daniels, representing the Met, said: “This was a matter to laugh about, rather than become upset about.”
Ms Auma responded that it happened
- “so often that it was upsetting.”
Mr Daniels then suggested:
- “This piece of childishness didn’t in fact happen, did it?”
The court heard that Ms Auma was often asked to go on “inappropriate” breaks while filling out CRIS reports, and she was subsequently logged out of the system half way through her work.
Speaking of her line manager, DS Andy Rowley, Ms Auma said:
- “He used to single me out and tell me to take breaks when I was in the middle of my reports, asking me to take inappropriate breaks.”
Asked whether he perceived this as part of a conspiracy to disrupt her work, Ms Auma responded: “Yes, that’s how I saw it.”
When Mrs Auma’s two brothers died in Kenya in a car crash in early 2007 she took two weeks compassionate leave, something she claims was interrupted by unnecessary calls from HR about her health and DS Rowley asking whether he could visit her home.
- “These were a series of unnecessary questions being asked when I was going through this,” Mrs Auma said.Mr Daniels responded: “These questions were not inappropriate.
“It was just the way you were feeling. These management actions, we would suggest, were perfectly appropriate, which you saw through the lens of your awful bereavement.
“So when somebody asked about your health, because of how terrible the bereavement was, you felt like somebody was attacking you.
“What you perceived as bullying and harassment was really just a product of the terrible tragedy that you had suffered in 2007.
“All those inquiries about your health were not harassment.”
Mr Daniels said Ms Auma had booked her trip to Kenya without first getting permission.
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