Yet another case of misdirected banter resulting in discrimination!
An Asda worker has won a sex discrimination case after being kicked on the bottom and “humiliated” by a female colleague after the employer failed to take his bullying claims seriously.
At an employment tribunal, the employee stated that a man would have been “sacked on the spot” if they experienced the same thing as him, having been kicked and kneed twice by a female colleague.
When the employee raised a grievance, “nothing was done” for several months, making him feel like his complaint wasn’t being taken seriously. He also queried whether the situation would have been dealt with faster had he been female. The perpetrator claimed that the two employees had a “playful” relationship, and said that the incident amounted to nothing more than “banter”. The grievance and appeal were unsuccessful and the employee raised an employment tribunal claim.
The employment judge stated: “The employee was entitled to feel that his welfare and safety were not being accorded any significance by his employer.” He said that the grievance had been mismanaged and agreed that if a woman had made the complaints, they would have been dealt with differently. He said that the outcome was significantly flawed and did not address a crucial element of the complaint.
Harassment in the workplace can often be masqueraded as ‘banter’ and it is vitally important that managers are trained to know the difference.
121 HR Solutions regularly delivers in-house training for managers, helping them differentiate from banter and harassment, and coaching them to deal with grievances. For further information contact us on 0800 9995 121.