LONDON — A gay, former police officer is suing London’s Metropolitan Police for discrimination, claiming he was forced to quit after being told his bosses monitor the gay hook-up app Grindr, and that fellow officers taunted him by saying he should become “a hairdresser or cabin crew.”
Kevin Maxwell, 36, claims at fellow officers discriminated against him for years. He said he served with the force’s Special Operations Counter Terrorism Command, but was taken off work in 2009, after being diagnosed with clinical depression, reports London’s Daily Mail.
When he tried to return from sick leave in December 2011, he was told that he would need to go through additional vetting. Maxwell said that this was a breach of guidelines, and a return to the harassment he had suffered.
Over the years, Maxwell has made repeated claims of harassment and discrimination against the department. He won a suit against the force in 2011, when he said that he was being continuously discriminated against, and senior officers who had “already made the strategic decision” to fire him.
In 2012, a tribunal found that Maxwell had been subjected to 41 acts of discrimination, harassment and victimization.
After the tribunal decision, Maxwell said he had found comments made by officers on a police website that said: “If I couldn’t hack it in the police, why didn’t I become and hairdresser or cabin crew.”
Later, he claims an instructor warned officers that Scotland Yard monitored officers’ activity on social networking sites including the app Grindr.
Article continues below“The long-term strategy of the Metropolitan Police was not only in retaliation for my employment tribunal claims, but also an attempt to mitigate any negative publicity and damage to the MPS’s reputation caused by my claims, by harming my own reputation through a formal finding of poor performance or misconduct, to deter me from continuing with my employment tribunal, employment appeal tribunal, claims and defense,” Maxwell told the Daily Mail.
Maxwell said the department destroyed his police career by assigning him to a post an hour’s commute away, despite his psychological problems with public transport; sending him on missions whenever he sat down to a hot meal; and ostracizing him whenever he entered a room. He eventually resigned.
The Metropolitan Police denied the allegations as the most recent tribunal continued this week.
Maxwell said the harassment and discrimination cost him his home, his job and and his partner of five years.