Setfords were instructed to pursue a claim for common law bullying and harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
This case could have been run as a claim for sexual harassment under the Equality Act 2010. But, our client, unfortunately, did not have the funds to pay for an employment solicitor to pursue that particular claim in the Employment Tribunal. And, by the time she came to Setfords, she was out of time for doing so. Ordinarily, claimants only get three months minus a day from the last incident of harassment to pursue a claim for sexual harassment under the Equality Act.
Setfords advised the client that a claim under the Protection from Harassment Act and also for common law bullying had merit and was still in time.
Our client worked as a waitress in a national restaurant chain. However, she suffered harassment from one of the chefs that worked at the same restaurant.
Our client told the chef that his behaviour was unacceptable and made her feel uncomfortable.
She also made various complaints to her general manager. Our client understands that other colleagues had also reported the chef’s behaviour to management, but little was done to discipline him or put a stop to the unwarranted behaviour.
Emboldened by the lack of sanction, the chef continued his campaign of harassment.
The claimant was traumatised due to this behaviour. She had previously considered work to be her safe place, but the chef’s actions and her employer’s reluctance to sanction his behaviour triggered a relapse in her mental health.
Despite the seriousness of the above events, the Defendant denied liability on the basis that, other than our client’s account, there was not enough evidence that the offences actually occurred. This is not an uncommon defence. The burden of proof is always on the Claimant to prove their case on the balance of probabilities.
Supportive medical evidence was obtained, which showed that the Claimant was a vulnerable individual in the workplace and suffered a severe psychiatric injury due to the events at work.
Shortly after proceedings were issued, a settlement was negotiated in the sum of £20,000 for this claim under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997.