NEWS & RESOURCES

BP alleged to have sacked female employee because ‘women aren’t funny’

An employment tribunal has heard that a BP surveyor lost her job because her sense of humour wasn’t considered a female asset.

At the time, Kathryn Buttle was the only female surveyor working in her team in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey. Ms Buttle was made redundant last year and is now claiming unfair dismissal, public interest disclosure and sexual discrimination. The former BP employee claims she was unable to do her job properly because of the bullying environment she worked in, which she claimed was led by her male colleagues.

The tribunal heard that when she passed on her concerns to her female superior, she was told that some colleagues didn’t like her personality.

“Women simply aren’t funny”

Her superior, Herlinde Mannaerts-Drew, informed her that because she was a woman, she should hide her sense of humour and that her personality would have been a great asset, had she been a man. She allegedly told Ms Buttle that women simply aren’t funny.

Ms Mannaerts-Drew said she was shocked to hear Ms Buttle’s claims and told the tribunal that she would never say that you need to be male to succeed at BP. She argued that she wasn’t telling Ms Buttle that women should not use humour, she just felt it wasn’t working for Ms Buttle.

The hearing continues.

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