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Sexual Harassment at Work

Last month a 17 year old was successful in a sexual harassment claim against her employer, Pizza Hut.

During her period of employment she was subjected to “unjustified threats, humiliating behaviour and unwelcome advances.” This included holding her round the waist, whispering in her ear and attempting to hold her hand. Having raised the issues with her employer she was then blamed for things she had not done, singled out and unfairly criticised.
Having found in favour of the employee she was awarded £13,000 by way of injury to feelings however there was also an uplift of an additional 15% for failure to follow the ACAS code. The employee had sent a detailed grievance letter setting out her complaints of sexual harassment. The employment tribunal found that the employer’s investigation was “entirely defective” and “it did not in fact address the points raised by the Claimant, nor did it provide any response to her complaints.”

It is unfortunate that an employee is subjected to such behaviour however there are clear points to note for employers from this judgment. Firstly in is important that such training and measures are in place to prevent an employee being subjected to this behaviour. Secondly is to ensure necessary procedures followed to handle matters in an effective manner to properly address issues and prevent any further harm being caused. The risk of not following procedures is that if faced with a tribunal claim as an employer you may be exposed to uplift on any award made.

Just Employment is able to provide employers with policies and procedures or provide HR training on sexual harassment and treatment in the workplace.

For further details of the Judgment it can be accessed here: Click Here

This case summary/article is intended for information purposes and should not be used or relied upon as legal advice. Just Employment accepts no responsibility for any reliance upon this information.

Author : Helen Phillips – Solicitor and Director, Just Employment Ltd