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The Results of a Celebrity Chef's Hearing

Thursday 10 May 2007 @ 15:22 - GMT

 Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, are facing the prospect of paying out substantial damages after their former cook won a sexual discrimination case against them.

A judgment from a Southampton employment tribunal said Trudie's treatment of Jane Martin was ''shameful,'' according to the Daily Mail.

The 41-year-old, from Winchester, Hampshire, was employed by Sting and his spouse for eight years, earning £28,000 a year, cooking for people such as Elton.

But Martin claimed to the tribunal that things started to go wrong when she became pregnant in 2005. She said Styler had lost her temper with her when she took time off work and she also made her work long hours.

She said staff at the couple's Wiltshire mansion, Lake House, were in fear of Trudie, and she subjected them to abuse to make her ''feel royal.''

The pair's management company, Lake House Estate, which employed Miss Martin, then said she would be made redundant and she left her job in April last year but the tribunal panel said Styler was behind the dismissal.

Using her married name of Sumner, the judgment said: "Although Mrs. Sumner tried to distance herself from various unlawful acts and have them carried out by minions on her behalf, when the evidence is looked at holistically, her involvement is clear. She is without doubt the driving force manipulating others to perform her dirty work."

Trudie called the judgment ''a travesty,'' adding that she plans to appeal.

"I am devastated by this decision... For Jane Martin to suggest that I, as a mother, discriminated against her because she was pregnant is risible to anyone who knows me."

The celebrity couple's solicitors said they were ''astonished at the decision.''

A hearing to decide the payment to Miss Martin, which is unlimited in sex discrimination cases, will now be held on June 8.