Over £55k award in discrimination case where harassment was dismissed as “banter”

A bus driver who was told to pretend she was pregnant or married to avoid harassment from her male colleagues suffered discrimination and was unfairly dismissed, an employment tribunal has ruled.  Her employer was found guilty of harassment, discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal, after a female employee lodged a grievance about multiple counts of sexual harassment from her majority-male team, only to be told by her union representative that the culprits were “probably joking”, and that she should lie about her relationship status to avoid future incidents.  This is yet another case where workplace “banter” has been used to label insidious discriminatory behaviour.

The claimant resigned from her post as her grievance was not resolved and the behaviour worsened and the tribunal upheld her claim of constructive unfair dismissal.

The employer was ordered to pay a total of £55,167.20, broken down into a financial award of multiple damages – including those for sex discrimination and unfair dismissal – of £23,612.89, and an award for injury to feelings for sex discrimination of £17,000.

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