10 May 2011 #Employment
This week the Employment Tribunal gave judgement in favour of a Claimant who was subject to discrimination and harassment of a sexual nature which was compared to the Carry On... film franchise.
The Claimant alleged that her line manager had made a number of offensive remarks in her presence. The manager was described as being someone who used the `F` word towards his subordinates on a daily basis. During the hearing the manager said that banter was an everyday fact of life and likened the banter in his office to "the Carry On films".
After a phone call during which the Claimant`s manager allegedly told her, amongst other things, that she was "f***** useless" the Claimant resigned from her employment with immediate effect. She then brought claims of constructive dismissal and sex discrimination.
The Tribunal found that the remarks allegedly made by the Claimant`s manager were of the same sexual nature as the theme of the Carry On films, and that "[the manager] was the Sid James to [the Claimant`s] unwilling Barbara Windsor".
The Tribunal stated that "`Banter` is a loose expression, covering what otherwise might be abusive behaviour on the basis that those participating do so willingly and on an equal level. It can easily transform into bullying when a subordinate employee effectively has no alternative but to accept/participate in this conduct to keep his or her job".
The tribunal held that this "banter" was something that the Claimant was expected to put up with on a daily basis in order to keep her job. They found that whilst the "banter" was not always of a sexual nature, it was "like the Carry On films" which were described as sexual.
The tribunal held that the Claimant had been subjected to sex discrimination, both directly and by way of harassment and that she had been constructively dismissed.