Rock singer loses Employment Tribunal sex discrimination case

MoJA rock singer who worked at a furniture company when not on tour has had his claims for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination rejected by a tribunal after he claimed that he had been harassed by a colleague whilst at work.

Mr Tom Ford, 31, worked for the Good Shelf Company (a bespoke furniture business based in Rotherfield Greys, South Yorkshire) as a carpenter with a female colleague, Ms Myers. Mr Ford alleged that he had experienced problems with Ms Myers soon after he started working for the business, with Ms Myers allegedly making derogatory comments about his girlfriend and allegedly sexually harassing him – including allegations that she would push her breasts against him, touch his buttocks, and bring him gifts of hair products and food. However, Mr Ford also stated that their relationship at work had turned sour after Ms Myers allegedly admitted her feelings for him and then allegedly launched a verbal tirade of abuse against him on her last day at the business, calling him a “s***”, a “c***”, and telling him that he “needed to get over [himself].”

The rock singer stated that he complained about Ms Myers’ behaviour to his line manager, Mr Gibbons, but that no action was taken by Mr Gibbons or anyone else. A few weeks later Ms Myers returned to the business and Mr Ford claimed that it was from then onwards that he was ‘managed out’ of the business. He stated that he suspected Mr Gibbons and Ms Myers of having an affair, that he was demoted from packing furniture rather than building it, and that ‘fabricated’ claims had been made by Mr Gibbons that he had had too much time off and that he was late for work. Mr Gibbons then sent Mr Ford an email on 28 December 2013 which stated that Mr Ford’s services would no longer be required in January. Upon receiving this email Mr Ford responded and stated that he was resigning, effective immediately.

Mr Ford, who is lead singer for rock band Motherload and has toured around the UK and Europe, brought claims for sex discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal against the Good Shelf Company after his resignation. His claims came to the Reading Employment Tribunal earlier this year, with Mr Ford, Mr Gibbons, and Ms Myers giving evidence. Mr Ford’s claims were rejected by the Employment Tribunal, who reserved the written reasons for his judgment until a later date.

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “If employees think that they are being discriminated against or harassed at work then it is strongly advised that they submit a written grievance to their employer listing all of the incidents of harassment or discrimination that they have been subjected to – a failure to do this could mean the difference between success or failure in an Employment Tribunal claim.”