A TRIBUNAL is today expected to rule on whether a former Burton Albion employee who admitted to sexual relationships with players was ‘victimised because she was a woman’.
Yesterday the hearing was told by the first team manager that Marchington resident Kerry Miller’s behaviour at the club was ‘not normal’.
Gary Rowett said Kerry Miller’s behaviour in going into the dressing room when players were changing, and flirting with members of the squad made him and other members of the squad ‘uncomfortable’.
However, he refuted claims her actions caused divisions in the team, and said he had not been sufficiently concerned to make enquiries or take further action.
Mr Rowett told an employment tribunal: “I have never come across a situation where a woman has been down where the players are. This is not normal, and whilst maybe some of the players were not too worried, some people felt very uncomfortable.
“In 24 years as a footballer, coach and manager, I have never been aware of a woman in the dressing rooms. As a male, I would never walk into a female dressing room, regardless of what I wanted.”
The tribunal has been told that Ms Miller, a widowed mother of three, went into the dressing rooms ‘around 15 times’ during the course of her employment, often when players were naked. But the 45-year-old former sales and marketing worker says she went in only four times – with good reason – and that she had not been told beforehand that the area was out of bounds.
When she was asked not to do it, she stopped, Ms Miller told the panel earlier in the week.
She claims she was victimised because she was a woman, citing other occasions when she was told to ‘stay away’ from players.
“I don’t know what their issue was with me,” she said.
The tribunal heard she was the butt of ‘blonde’ jokes, leaving her hurt and upset.
Ms Miller, who had a relationship with a former player and exchanged sexually explicit pictures with another, was rumoured to be carrying on an affair with another player, and was known to have exchanged phone numbers with a high-profile football player when he visited he club. He has not been named during the proceedings.
She resigned in February last year, after she was reprimanded ‘aggressively’ by club chairman Ben Robinson for fraternising with players when she should have been doing her own work.
He said he was simply telling her to get on with her job.
James Bruce, counsel for Ms Miller, said: “Mr Robinson’s actions were based on the impression he has and the assumption that the rumours he had heard were true.”
A decision by the tribunal panel is due today.