12 August 2016 #Employment
Following two months of persistent, unwanted attentions and a questionable redundancy to follow, Miss Majid successfully brought claims of sex discrimination and harassment, against her employer and her co-worker, and was awarded compensation accordingly.
Miss Majid attended a work interview at AA Solicitors. During this interview, the interviewer, Mr Ali, asked Miss Majid to marry him. In her following two months at the company Miss Majid was subjected to an alleged 40 or more further acts of sexual harassment. Such acts included Mr Ali rubbing and squeezing the Claimant’s hands, asking the Claimant whether she was ‘spoken for’ and suggesting a bed be put in one of the office rooms for them to share. Following a polite rejection of Mr Ali’s advances and informing him she had a boyfriend, Miss Majid was made redundant.
The Employment Tribunal ordered Mr Ali and AA Solicitors to pay Miss Majid over £20,000, which included £14,000 for injury to feelings and £4,000 of aggravated damages. The amount of the award was appealed by the Respondents who considered this too harsh but their appeal was dismissed by the EAT. The EAT surmised that the Claimant had been present in the office for Mr Ali’s “pleasure and gratification” rather than to work.
The case is a reminder to employers to ensure they take reasonable steps to prevent such behaviour occurring, including ensuring all staff (including those in positions of trust) are aware of the standards expected of them. It is also a reminder to employees that they can be pursued personally for discrimination claims, which can carry some hefty penalties!
For factsheets, checklists, letters and policies on discrimination and harassment please visit Employmentbuddy.com
For advice on how to protect your organisation from discrimination claims, please contact our employment lawyers on email@example.com