Redmans Helps Female Employee Settle Sexual Harassment Claim Against Former Employer
Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, represented a client who was sexually harassed and threatened in settlement agreement negotiations and secured an ex-gratia payment for the client.
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Selina (not her real name) worked in sales for a large company. During the course of her employment, someone secretly photographed her wearing a bikini and this photo was sent to a number of colleagues without her consent. One of her colleagues then threatened Selina that he would display this photo of her on a projector in public.
Selina was extremely disturbed with her colleagues’ conduct and she contacted Redmans to see if she could obtain some legal help. She spoke to Chris Hadrill, the partner in the employment team at Redmans.
What we did
When Selina contacted the employment team at Redmans she wanted to see what could be done about her situation at work – she thought she might have to leave her job in order to solve the situation.
Chris Hadrill, the partner in the employment team at Redmans, helped Selina with her case.
Chris explained to Selina that her colleagues’ actions (in taking the photo and then distributing it) were inappropriate and constituted sexual harassment, as this conduct was sexual in nature, unwanted by Selina, and had the purpose or effect of violating Selina’s dignity or creating an offensive workplace environment for her.
Chris drafted a letter to Selina’s employer setting out the facts and arguing that she had been subjected to sexual harassment under section 26(2) of the Equality Act 2010. He explained that Selina intended to resign and bring an Employment Tribunal claim if it wasn’t possible to settle the case, and what terms Selina wanted to settle the case (which included money and the provision of an appropriate employment reference).
After a lengthy period of negotiation with the company’s solicitors it was agreed that Selina would be given a confidential settlement package, including the payment of her notice pay, an ex-gratia (tax-free) payment, mutual confidentiality clauses, and the provision of a reference by Selina’s employers after she left. Settlement agreement terms were subsequently agreed and signed.
Chris Hadrill, the partner at Redmans who assisted Selina, commented:
“If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual conduct at work then you should seek legal advice and, if you feel able to do so, submit a written complaint to your employer identifying the sexual conduct that you have been subjected to, who was involved, when this conduct occurred, and that this conduct was unwanted. This should help to strengthen your position with regards to settling an Employment Tribunal claim or, if necessary, help you to succeed in bringing such a claim.
However, Employment Tribunal claims are generally the last resort as it is always preferable to see whether a case can be resolved without having to resort to litigation (whether in the Employment Tribunal or otherwise).”