Huge payout due to career-derailing harassment

A trainee project supervisor told an employment tribunal how a colleague sent frequent texts and emails to her, told her he “fancied” her and wrote “marry me” in an email to her.

Following a complaint and investigation about the behaviour he remained in his role. The trainee then resigned and subsequently lodged an employment tribunal on the grounds of sexual harassment, victimisation, and constructive wrongful dismissal. She was awarded £357,000 in compensation, having successfully argued that her treatment had derailed her career progress.

A spokesperson for the business said: “Following these events, we have taken a number of steps – including comprehensive training – to ensure our people know how to report anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe, and to reiterate in the strongest possible terms the standard of behaviour we expect at all times. We are undertaking a full review of the processes we followed, and our priority now is to learn the lessons from this case to ensure that it never happens again.”

Employers must be proactive in tackling harassment. A robust policy is the first step in preventing misconduct, and businesses should also ensure they have a clear, zero-tolerance attitude towards this behaviour. Similarly, workplace training for managers on how to manage, avoid and report inappropriate actions can go a long way in discouraging all forms of sexual harassment in the workplace, as can providing effective support for affected employees.

Earlier in the year the Equality and Human Rights Commission and UK Hospitality published a new action plan and checklist for employers, to help them stop sexual harassment in the workplace. This was created following research which found that most hospitality workers have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, and most found it to be a “normal” part of the job in settings where alcohol is consumed.

121 HR Solutions can assist with internal workshops that will provide delegates with all the knowledge and tools they need to feel more confident with the topic of Harassment contact us at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk and we can discuss.

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