It’s only because I recognize John Cleese that I’m able to distinguish the Monty Python sketch from the news story. First, the news story:
A former police sergeant who was passed over for a job as a dog handler has claimed that she was discriminated against because she talks in a whisper.
Catherine Gilbert told an employment tribunal that she missed out on a job training police dogs 12 years ago because she suffers from dysphonia, which prevents her from raising her voice.
The rare condition, which is defined as ‘an impairment in the ability to produce voice sounds using the vocal organs’, would have made it virtually impossible for her to command police dogs as they need stern and clear orders from their handlers.
But Miss Gilbert, who joined Kent Police in 1997, claims that senior staff did not make enough ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate her condition.
The 35-year-old walked out of her £35,000-a-year sergeant’s job in 2005 after a ‘terrible argument’ about pay, the tribunal heard. But Miss Gilbert said it was the ‘final straw’ and blamed the stress of her condition.
She remained on full or half pay until last year – pocketing thousands of pounds while on ‘gardening leave’.
And now, here’s the Monty Python sketch, with the relevant part starting at 40 seconds: