Office gossip leads to sexual harassment claim!
A senior accountant and his younger female colleague have won a sexual harassment case against a council after a colleague working with them at the authority accused them of having an affair.
The claimants were working together on the Council’s response to the Grenfell Tower fires. They were gossiped about in the office for arriving late/leaving early together, going out for lunch and taking ‘unnecessary’ trips to the Tower. Comments were made by a colleague about what they were doing whilst out of the office, including unfounded allegations of them getting a hotel room. The comments arose from a deputy who was disgruntled that the younger female had been recruited as she did not believe it was necessary. The comments made were of a vulgar and derogatory nature to other colleagues within the office.
The pair took the council to a tribunal claiming sex discrimination, victimisation and that they had been badly treated for whistle blowing.
The Employment Tribunal found these comments amounted to unwanted conduct of a sexual nature.
The panel said that unless the pair and the council can come to an agreement themselves, a further hearing would be held next year to determine compensation.
121 HR Solutions can assist with policies and training employees regarding Dignity at Work to avoid such claims, contact us today and we will be happy to discuss.