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Lesbian awarded €20k against civil service

A gay woman has been awarded €20,000 after being victimised by Government officials.

Patricia Cullen claimed she was harassed by Department of Foreign Affairs colleagues because she was in a lesbian relationship.

The Equality Tribunal found that Ms Cullen had been victimised in the department, even though it could not be proved that she had been discriminated against. She claimed that she was being given poor performance reviews in a bid to undermine her.

Ms Cullen said an "average appraisal" was subsequently downgraded to a two-out-of-five score.

The tribunal stated Ms Cullen was given a rating corresponding to "meets the requirements of the job/role" and that "this was signed off by her manager".

It said the "revised" report presented to her for signature in September 2008 had a rating corresponding to "needs improvement".

The tribunal stated the documentation submitted shows her line manager gave her an "average/above average" rating.

It added the reviewer merely agreed with the average rating, though exception was taking to the "above average" element of the assessment.

The tribunal said the evidence was not sufficient to show an inference of discrimination.

However, Ms Cullen was awarded €20,000 compensation by the presiding equality officer.

Ms Cullen is now First Secretary to the UN General Assembly, a separate government department.

She had claimed she was denied promotion at the Department of Foreign Affairs as she was considered "unfit to serve the department either at home or abroad because of her lifestyle".