A police force is facing allegations of fostering a culture of 'sexism' by a former employee, who claims the force 'ruined my life, my mental health and my career'.
Denise Aubrey, 45, who worked as head of legal services at Northumbria Police, was sacked for gross misconduct after she allegedly disclosed information about an affair between two high ranking officers.
But she denies this and has instead taken the force to a tribunal, accusing her former bosses of 'unfair dismissal following a protected disclosure, sex discrimination, disability discrimination, victimisation and harassment'.
The incident she is alleged to have disclosed was reportedly removed from the police log, after a fight broke out between the two officers who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Ms Aubrey, who worked for the force for 20 years, said 'overt sexism was rife' and that 'a male chief inspector told me that I had been appointed as the 'token woman'.'
She also said she was once told, after a presentation, 'everyone was transfixed as they could see my nipples through my blouse'.
She alleges that she was bullied by Chief Constable Steve Ashman, who was deputy chief constable when the allegations begin, and says she was 'physically afraid' of what he would do.
She said: "The physical effects of being bullied by DCC Ashman frequently caused me to experience disorientation, dizziness, hot and cold sweats, headaches, fainting, physical vomiting, palpitating heartbeats, lack of breath, seizures and pains in my chest.
"I became physically afraid of what he would do or say next. I was married to my job and it meant all the world to me and I was devastated by what was happening."
She says she had been severely unwell before and after her suspension in June 2013 and was dismissed following a disciplinary hearing that she was unable to attend.
She continued: "My appeal was rejected on July 1, 2014. After two decades of dedicated service, Northumbria Police ruined my life, my mental health and my career."
The case is expected to last three weeks and former chief constable Sue Sim is due to give evidence in favour of Ms Aubrey.