Setfords were instructed to pursue a bullying and harassment claim, suffered by our client during her employment.
It was a good example of something that could have been run as a claim for sexual harassment under the Equality Act 2010. The client, however, could not afford to fund a sexual harassment claim and was also out of time to do so when she approached Setfords. Typically, such claims have to be brought within three months of the last incident of harassment.
However, Setfords advised the client that a claim under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and for common law bullying could be brought and were in time.
Bringing about this bullying and harassment claim, the client suffered unwanted and oppressive attention from a particular employee who would often make our client’s experience in the workplace unbearable.
In the beginning, the attention took the form of verbal comments. She would receive numerous comments that she attempted to rebuff without causing too much fuss.
However, our client’s colleague appeared to gain confidence and no longer seemed satisfied with simply making verbal comments. Our client felt extremely intimidated, embarrassed and humiliated.
Nothing was done, despite reporting the unwanted and oppressive attention to various managers. This encouraged the colleague and allowed him to continue his campaign of bullying and harassment.
Our client did eventually raise a formal grievance. Whilst the investigation supported our client’s recollection of events and resulted in a disciplinary process against our client’s colleague, not enough was done to protect our client in the workplace after that. The colleague was not suspended or relocated.
Our client was asked to work with her harasser a few months later. Whilst there were no further acts of bullying and harassment per se, simply being asked to work with her harasser constituted a breach of the duty of care owed to her. This caused her to suffer a relapse in her mental health.
Setfords obtained psychiatric medical evidence that supported her having suffered a severe psychiatric injury due to her experience at work.
Liability was denied throughout, albeit the Defendant did eventually enter into settlement discussions. After a negotiation period, an offer of £40,000.00 was accepted by our client for this bullying and harassment claim.