This recent case has highlighted the costly risks for employers who fail to ensure that inappropriate comments are not made in the workplace.
The employee was a Royal Mail driver, who was told by a male colleague, while on night shift, that she should be “back at home and in the kitchen”. The colleague also attempted to pull her hair, accused her of trying to get out of her duties and called her and another colleague “arsey”.
She made a formal complaint which resulted in her colleague being immediately removed from managerial duties. However, this was too late to prevent her being awarded £2,600 in damages for injuries to feelings by a tribunal for harassment and sex discrimination. “In our judgment, therefore this particular effort at creating discomfort or humiliation was clearly related to gender and is an act of harassment for which the claimant is entitled to a remedy,” commented the Judge.
After the incident, Royal Mail implemented further training on what can and cannot be said at work. Perhaps a little too late in this situation.
The case highlights the importance of employers having the correct procedures in place, with the appropriate training, to prevent such situations from arising.
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