Dismissed for claims of sexual harassment

A recent employment tribunal ruled in favour of two employees dismissed for gross misconduct from a popular food outlet. This occurred after they had raised concerns about two managers’ sexual harassment and discriminatory behaviour.

The first claimant stated she was subject to sexual harassment by the store manager, who made inappropriate comments about her appearance, and comments such as “she shouldn’t bend down like that in front of men” when she bent down to pick something up off the floor. She also claimed that she heard the store manager use homophobic slurs against a gay colleague. She was later dismissed for gross misconduct based on accusations of stealing, poor performance, and breaching social media policy. 

The tribunal also heard from a second claimant who received a Snapchat photo from his area manager showing him in the bath watching the store’s CCTV, accompanied by inappropriate comments. Further comments included him being told he had “sexy legs”, and the area manager solicited a threesome from him.  He was also dismissed for gross misconduct, with false accusations of stealing food, leaving the store unattended, and using his personal phone.

Neither claimant was provided with proper employment contracts and the franchise owners were found to have failed to have followed any form of process in respect of the allegations of poor performance.  

The tribunal ruled in favour of both complaints of wrongful dismissal and sexual harassment. Compensation will be decided at a later date.

Businesses cannot afford to be reactive in these situations. There is significant research which confirms that victims of sexual harassment feel violated, intimidated, ashamed, degraded and scared and that many choose to stay silent rather than report it for fear they will be treated negatively as a result.

121 HR Solutions can assist with policy updates if you feel this topic requires a more robust policy. Contact us at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk and we can discuss.

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