Sexual harassment shame

An employment tribunal ruled in the highly unusual legal case that a servicewoman was the victim of an attack, contrary to what a military court ruled.

The ‘outstanding’ servicewoman left the air force following the incident in question and is likely to receive a huge pay out having previously turned down a £15,750 compensation offer.

An employment tribunal heard that while she was stationed in Crete, the woman woke up in her hotel room, following a night out, to find her male colleague abusing her. The Ministry of Defence accepted that the attack had taken place but argued that it didn’t happen ‘in the course of employment’ as the employee in question was on a night out.

The employment tribunal rejected that argument and ruled that the MoD was ‘vicariously’ liable for the incident, saying that “The group drank cocktails at several bars during the day until the evening. Whilst some of them returned to the base in compliance with the curfew, about half of the group decided to stay overnight… and booked a hotel. They knew that this would be a breach of curfew. All of the group other than the [servicewoman] were male.’

It was heard that the initial investigation into the incident was poor as officers were inexperienced and not trained in disciplinary investigation procedures.

A hearing will take place in the future to determine compensation.

121 HR Solutions offers workshops that cover key techniques, procedures and checklists to help ensure that investigators are considering critical factors and that the process is fair and un-biased and to provide peace of mind to employers that their managers are adequately trained in matters relating to investigations and disciplinary situations.

If you have any concerns about this subject or general advice, contact us at and we can discuss.

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