Redmans Helps Client Settle Sexual Harassment Claim Against Employer

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, represented a client who faced sexual harassment at work in settlement agreement negotiations and secured an ex-gratia payment for the client.

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Anna (not her real name) worked as a Personal Assistant for the CEO of a business. During the course of her employment, she was subjected to the following conduct by the CEO (this is a non-exhaustive list):

  • Comments about what she should wear in the workplace
  • Comments that she was the “perfect age” for him for dating
  • Asking Anna whether she had a boyfriend
  • Asking Anna to get into bed with him
  • Stating to Anna that he had bought her a present from Ann Summers (a boutique lingerie store)

Anna became unhappy with the CEO’s conduct and 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 Anna 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 Anna with her case. He was instructed on a no-win no fee basis, meaning that if Anna got a settlement in her case she would only pay a percentage of the settlement, and that if it wasn’t possible to settle the case then she wouldn’t have to pay Redmans anything.

Chris explained to Anna that her boss’s actions were inappropriate and constituted sexual harassment. As her CEO, he had engaged in a course of conduct which was sexual in nature and had the purpose or effect of violating Anna’s dignity, hence creating an offensive workplace environment for her.

Chris drafted a letter to Anna’s employer setting out the facts and arguing that Anna had been subjected to sexual harassment. He explained that Anna intended to resign and bring an Employment Tribunal claim if it wasn’t possible to settle the case (at the terms Anna wanted to settle with).

The Result

After a lengthy period of negotiation with the company’s solicitors, it was agreed that Anna 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 Anna’s employers after she left.

Settlement agreement terms were subsequently agreed upon and signed.

Chris Hadrill, the partner at Redmans who assisted Anna, commented:

“If you have been subjected to sexual harassment at work, then you have options available to you:

  1. speak to a solicitor and see what they can do to help you – this may involve (among other things) submitting a grievance to your employer complaining of the conduct and/or negotiating a settlement
  2. And/or bring an Employment Tribunal claim for sexual harassment.

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)”.