Couple win almost £40,000 in Employment Tribunal sexual harassment claim

hmctsA couple have won their claims for sexual harassment against their former employer and their former line manager after they were subjected to a campaign of inappropriate sexual conduct.

Maxine Williams, 29, and her boyfriend Graham Healiss, 27, won their Employment Tribunal claims against former employer M & R Marketing Limited and their former line manager, Danny Butterworth, after an Employment Tribunal found that they had both been sexually harassed by Mr Butterworth and awarded the couple almost £40,000 in total.

Ms Williams and Mr Healiss brought their claims to the Employment Tribunal after they alleged that the following conduct had occurred whilst they worked for their former employer:

  • That Mr Butterworth would put his hands under Ms Williams’ top, pull her bra strap, and comment openly in the office environment on her “big boobs”
  • That Mr Butterworth made Ms Williams lean over desks so that he could see her exposed breasts
  • That Mr Butterworth would ask Ms Williams questions about Mr Healiss such as “is he good in bed?” and “what do you two get up to in bed?”, with these questions often asked Mr Healiss’ earshot
  • That Mr Healiss felt humiliated when Mr Butterworth asked Ms Williams whether he had a “big c***” and “Does he have a big d***?”
  • That Mr Butterworth told Ms Williams “You have a lovely big arse. You have junk in the trunk”
  • That Mr Butterworth would come up behind Ms Williams and rub and massage her shoulders
  • That whenever the couple were late to work Mr Butterworth would say that they were “having too much sex at night”

The couple also alleged that they had repeatedly complained about Mr Butterworth’s conduct to senior management at M & R Marketing, but that she had been told by Operations Manage Kevin O’Toole that she should accept remarks made in “fun” about her because she was a “pretty girl”. The couple were suspended in 2014 on allegations that they had engaged in conduct that was not becoming of an office environment, with Mr Healiss subsequently being dismissed on allegations that he had threatened staff members with violence. No action was taken against Mr Butterworth.

Earlier this month an Employment Tribunal ruled that Ms Williams and Mr Healiss succeeded in their sexual harassment and victimisation claims against their former employer and Mr Butterworth. The Employment Tribunal awarded Ms Williams £24,700 as compensation for loss of earnings, injury to feelings, and aggravated damages, and Mr Healiss was awarded £11,900 as compensation for injury to feelings and aggravated damages.

Commenting after the release of the Employment Tribunal judgment, Ms Williams stated: “I am relieved that the tribunal believed the truth. I have been called a liar and accused of fabricating the whole thing up. I feel vindicated as I was determined to tell the truth and not let them bully me all over again at the tribunal.”

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the claim: “If an allegation of sexual harassment (or any other form of discrimination, harassment or victimisation) is made at work then an employer must take prompt and thorough steps to investigate the allegations, and must also produce an impartial and reasoned outcome. A failure to do so can lead, as in this case, to claims for victimisation against the organisation.”

The original article containing this story can be found here.