Teen Worker Dismissed and Blamed for an Arson Attack After Being Sexually Assaulted

In Miss A Tariq v Mr Hussain and Ms Khan, Miss Tariq won her claim concerning victimisation after alleging an older colleague sexually assaulted her. As a result, an employment tribunal has awarded her over £18,000. Below, we explore the events leading up to the claim and the tribunal’s judgment.

If you have faced similar circumstances and want to claim victimisation compensation, contact Redmans Solicitors today. We are employment law specialists with years of experience and could determine your eligibility to make a claim. Get in touch with us now by:

The Facts in Miss A Tariq v Mr Hussain and Ms Khan

Miss Tariq Claims She’s Been Sexually Assaulted

Miss Tariq (“The Claimant”) began working for Mr Hussain and Ms Khan (“The Respondents”) when she was 16, sometime in January 2019. She worked at the “New York Diner”, a fast-food restaurant in Manchester, while studying for her A-levels and was responsible for standing behind the counter and serving customers.

On 8 March, Miss Tariq informed a former colleague that one of the Diner’s chefs, whom the tribunal referred to as PX, had sexually assaulted and harassed her. This conversation occurred over Snapchat, where the claimant alleged PX had made various sexual comments to her. 

She added, “When I went into the office to get burger sauce he goes ‘quick get in’ and tries to pull my pants down”. Miss Tariq said she’d laugh it off because she was nervous, scared and didn’t know what to do. Subsequently, the former colleague forwarded this Snapchat conversation to the claimant’s manager, who replied, “Thanks”.

Then, on 31 March, Miss Tariq sent a detailed WhatsApp message to Ms Khan. She again alleged the sexual assault, and the two had a phone call the next day.

She Allegedly Signs a Declaration that She Wasn’t Sexually Assaulted

Following the claimant’s allegations of sexual assault, the respondents claim a declaration was signed. The declaration was in a bound book labe lled “Managers Report Book” and supposedly contained a passage with Miss Tariq’s signature. The passage stated PX hadn’t sexually assaulted her, and her colleague had misunderstood her Snapchat messages.

However, Miss Tariq denied ever signing this declaration and claimed her signature had been fabricated.

Her Mother Learns She’s Been Sexually Assaulted

Roughly on 10 June, Miss Tariq told her mother about the sexual harassment she’d experienced at work. This resulted in her mother being furious and contacting Ms Khan immediately, which led to a phone call.

During the call, Miss Tariq’s mother told Ms Khan about the sexual assault incident involving PX. In response, Ms Khan said the claimant hadn’t told her about this but didn’t need to worry as he’d left.

Three days later, on 13 June, Ms Khan contacted the claimant’s mother, informing her that her daughter had been dismissed. The manager explained this was because Miss Tariq was “not a good worker’.

A Grievance is Raised

On 4 November, Miss Tariq sent a grievance letter to the respondents. She outlined that she believed her dismissal arose because her mother brought up the allegations that she’d been sexually assaulted. 

Additionally, she complained about receiving wages lower than the National Minimum Wage, unlawful wage deductions, racist language and unfair treatment. Detailing the effects of being sexually assaulted, she explained how, after already suffering from anxiety and depression, she had begun self-harming again. 

In response, on 2 December, her manager said the claimant had made false accusations about PX. The manager reasoned Miss Tariq had made such accusations because PX informed management about her regularly taking food without paying. They added, “I believe you have severe psychological problems and you definitely need professional help”. In conclusion, the manager stated that they would seek legal action if the claimant continued to pursue such allegations.

This response upset Miss Tariq, who felt her manager was attempting to scare her from pursuing her grievance. She described her manager’s comments as ‘gaslighting’, subsequently leading to her claiming.

The Respondents Makes Allegations of an Arson Attack

The initial hearing occurred over numerous days between 30 January and 30 March 2023. Following this hearing, the tribunal ruled that Mr Hussain and Ms Khan had victimised Ms Tariq. However, the tribunal set a further hearing to determine issues not yet resolved, including the claimant’s remedy.

Before the remedy hearing, the respondents submitted further evidence, outlining that they’d “had two related unknown arson attacks”. They suggested that the claimant was a “possible suspect”.

The Employment Tribunal’s Judgment

The Reserved Judgment

During the initial hearing, the tribunal stated that they didn’t make a finding concerning whether PX had acted exactly as described. Despite this, they believed the claimant hadn’t made up the story and had made allegations in good faith.

Then, when addressing the alleged signed declaration put forward by the respondent, the tribunal ruled in Miss Tariq’s favour. They found it unlikely that she would have signed it since her description of events was unambiguous. Furthermore, they believed it would have been strange to text her manager about the incidents had she signed a declaration.

Finally, in coming to a decision, the tribunal dismissed Miss Tariq’s discrimination and harassment claims. However, the tribunal explained that the claimant had made protected acts when disclosing that she’d been sexually assaulted. Furthermore, they held such disclosure had influenced the respondent’s decision to dismiss her, causing her a detriment. As such, they ruled in favour of her victimisation claim.

The Remedy Judgment

The tribunal dismissed evidence put forward by the respondent, suggesting Miss Tariq was a possible suspect in the arson attacks. They explained the evidence was illegitimate and baseless since no mention of this had been made by the respondents previously. They also felt the respondent was trying to influence their decision about the claimant.

However, the tribunal didn’t allow this to affect their judgment and awarded Miss Tariq £18,696.14 due to being victimised after making a protected act when disclosing that she’d been sexually assaulted. Her compensation comprised injury to feelings, loss of earnings, expenses, an Acas uplift and interest.

Claim With Redmans

If you have been victimised after telling your employer that you’ve been sexually assaulted, contact us now. Redmans Solicitors are experts in the employment law sector and could discuss your circumstances before advising how to proceed. Moreover, we offer various funding options to ensure we can best meet your needs.

So, to begin your journey with us today: