08:25 Wednesday 05 February 2014

'It was a matter of principle', says Brewers chair

Written byLAURA HAMMOND

IT was ‘a matter of principle’ which forced Burton Albion to challenge claims of sexual discrimination and harassment, the club’s chairman has told the Mail.

Albion laid out upwards of £16,000 in defending itself against allegations made by former employee Kerry Miller, which led to an employment tribunal last week.

All of the claims, which included allegations that bosses pried into her personal life, were dismissed by the tribunal, but 45-year-old was not ordered to pay any costs for the club.

Brewers chairman Ben Robinson said: “When we set off to respond to her allegations, we knew it was going to costs us a tidy sum, but we did it on a matter of principle. We were not going to let this happen.

“We could have settled outside of court, but if we had done that it would have looked like we had something to hide. We were confident about the facts and that we had not done anything wrong.”

Ms Miller, who lives in Marchington, made nine allegations stretching from the first time she met Mr Robinson, in September 2011, to the day she walked out of her admin role on February 20 last year, saying bosses had ‘no reason’ to speak to her the way they had done during her employment.

However, she admitted to the tribunal she had gone into the players’ changing room when they were undressing, had a sexual relationship with Ryan Austin, exchanged explicit texts with Billy Kee, and posted a picture online of herself with a player she was rumoured to be in a relationship with.

Club bosses said they spoke to Ms Miller when the issues arose, but no disciplinary action was taken.

Mr Robinson said ‘lessons had been learned’ with regard to disciplinary procedure.

“We hoped she would see the error of her ways, but that was not the case. Going forwards, based on this experience, we will have to take a hard line approach. We have a disciplinary procedure, and if it is not used, you could end up where we ended up,” he added.

Changes have also been made to administration practices at the club, he said.

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