RAF Lakenheath worker is told tribunal cannot rule on sacking because it 'does not have jurisdiction' to investigate US base
An award-winning worker, who claimed she was unfairly sacked from her job at RAF Lakenheath, has been told the issue cannot be dealt with under UK employment law.
Anthea Webster lost her job at the US airbase two years ago while she was absent from work with stress and depression.
But an employment tribunal told the mother of two it ‘did not have the jurisdiction’ to investigate claims of misconduct against US authorities, despite being told she would be covered when she started work at the base in 2011.
“They have made it so that no matter what the issue is, they are not responsible and it doesn’t matter, we don’t matter,” said Ms Webster, who lives in Beck Row.
She added her dismissal, which was based on ‘capability reasons’, was particularly surprising as she had won awards for her work as base records manager.
“I got three awards for my management work and that
tells me how good I was at my job yet there’s nothing I can do,” she said.
An employment tribunal was held at the beginning of last month, with Ms Webster in attendance along with Caroline Wright, who had experienced the same treatment at a US airbase in Northamptonshire.
A report by the tribunal chairman after the case’s dismissal said he had ‘personal sympathy’ for both women and the outcome would ‘undoubtedly appear unjust to them’.
Ms Webster plans to appeal after being offered free legal representation by London law firm Blackstone Chambers.
A spokesman for RAF Lakenheath said: “We have no tolerance for discrimination of any kind and strictly adhere to employment law.”
More by this authorRhoda Morrison