07 May 2015 #Employment
An Employment Tribunal has awarded a zero-hours worker £19,500 for injury to feelings. It was found that the employer had failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment by the employee’s line manager.
The claimant worked as a hotel waitress and suffered an eight month campaign of sexual harassment by Mr Nkorol, the employee’s line manager. The Tribunal heard that she had complained to her employer about the prolonged harassment, however the harassment continued and she subsequently lodged a formal complaint. The employer conducted an investigation and found that the employee in question had exhibited inappropriate ‘mannerisms and behaviour’, however no further action was taken against Mr Nkorol.
The Tribunal found that the employer had failed to fully investigate the employee’s complaints and also took into consideration the claimant’s vulnerable status as a zero-hour worker. Further factors contributing to the award for injury to feelings were the employee’s age and mental health. It therefore increased the award to £19,500.
The case acts as a reminder to employers to ensure that they conduct a proper investigation in response to complaints of harassment by colleagues. The fact that the employer in this case failed to conduct a satisfactory investigation, or take any action on the findings of the investigation cost them dearly at Tribunal.