In this case the Claimant was employed under a zero hour’s contract, and worked as a waitress for the hotel, The Britannia Hotel Limited (“Britannia”). Britannia was the First Respondent in this case.
The Claimant alleged she was subject to harassment by an employee of Britannia who was also her line manager. The Claimant raised the allegation with another line manager who advised her to put her concerns in writing, but did not take any further action.
The Claimant alleged her line managers conduct became more harassing after she lodged the written complaint and included the line manager touching her bottom, kissing her neck and sometimes standing behind her making sexual movements.
The tribunal criticised Britannia for the lack of investigation undertaken. No details were sought about the particulars of the alleged harassment and only a short ten minute meeting took place with the Claimant to discuss the formal complaint further. This was despite Britannia having policies in place to deal with this type of allegation.
The tribunal concluded the Claimant had been harassed by her line manager and Britannia were vicariously liable for it, ordering compensation of £19,500.
What steps should companies take to not fall foul of this type of issue?
- Ensure the company has a Harassment Policy within its Employee Handbook;
- Train all managers on the content of the Harassment Policy and what it means, so they feel confident to deal with such allegations if raised with them personally;
- Implement a step by step process of how to deal internally with such allegations, making sure managers are actually implementing this process in practice;
- Make sure workers are treated fairly regardless of their ‘contractual’ status;
- Obtain employment law legal advice to hand hold the company through such processes, and assist with any documentation to reduce the risk of such scenarios turning into litigation.
Avoid any nasty surprises by tackling the above points sooner rather than later.
For further information or if you have any issues you would like to discuss, speak to Laura at Cinch Legal on: 01925 594495 or email: LauraP@thecinchgroup.com. I can work with your company through a step by step process, ensuring your business is fully protected.