Workplace Harassment: CEO Stalks and Harasses Employee Because of Secret Affair

Former CEO of Australian Private Lender WISR has pleaded guilty to stalking a female employee in a workplace harassment claim. This comes after a secret affair fell apart and was under threat of being exposed. As a result, they have been given a restraining order and await sentencing on 10 January 2024.

We discuss the details of the case, what constitutes as harassment in the UK, and when you could claim compensation. Contact us today if you’ve experienced something similar and want expert advice. We are employment law specialists and can provide the legal guidance you require.

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The WISR Workplace Harassment Case

Anthony Nantes was the former CEO of WISR and began an affair with an unnamed female employee in 2019. Trouble started around three years later when the employee felt Mr Nantes had been messaging her too much and threatened to enlighten his wife about the affair. In response, reports state he claimed the employee was trying to blackmail him and warned of potential legal action.

During the workplace harassment proceedings, the court learned how Mr Nantes had turned up at the employee’s residence, only leaving after a heated dispute. On another occasion, he emailed the employee over 50 times that day and transferred money with an unpleasant description. It read, “Liar, and you should be ashamed to be so cruel to me over and over again”.

Separately, he pursued her and pleaded for a chat when he spotted her outside her home one day. This forced the female employee to divert to a local restaurant, where a worker requested Mr Nantes to leave. The court learned how this intimidated the employee at the time.

Interestingly, despite Mr Nantes stepping down as CEO on 16 August 2023, WISR didn’t attribute this action to the stalking between December 2022 and March 2023. Instead, they claimed his unsatisfactory performance was the reason for the termination of his employment.

In any event, Mr Nantes now has a restraining order that prevents him from contacting the female employee for two years. What’s more, he awaits his sentencing, which will be provided early next year. This includes a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment or a fine of nearly £3,000.

Workplace Harassment Laws in the UK 

The Equality Act 2010 establishes the UK’s legal stance concerning workplace harassment. Under section 26, a person is guilty of harassing another if they engage in specific unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating another’s dignity or creating a hostile environment. The said unwanted conduct could be of a sexual nature or relate to a specific protected characteristic, including a person’s:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

When determining whether the conduct in a case satisfies the requirements outlined in this legislation, the court will consider:

  • The perception of the person who claims to have been harassed
  • Other relevant circumstances in the case
  • Whether it would be reasonable for the conduct to have had the claimed effect

When Could an Employee Claim Compensation?

If an employee has experienced workplace harassment, they could first try and resolve the matter informally. This could help the individual find a swift resolution and may come with less stress than the other possible routes. 

However, an informal approach may not always be possible or provide an unsatisfactory outcome. In such circumstances, the employee could raise a formal grievance. If this occurred, the employer would have to follow a fair procedure and comply with the ACAS code of practice. Yet, if the issue is still unresolved, an employee could consider making a compensation claim to an employment tribunal.

This is where Redmans Solicitors could help. We are expert workplace harassment solicitors and have assisted numerous claimants through the legal process. We can answer employees’ questions, uncover their eligibility to claim compensation and advise them on how to proceed. What’s more, we offer several funding options to meet the needs of individuals in numerous circumstances.

So, if you have experienced harassment in a workplace and want to claim compensation, contact us today. You can get in touch with us right now by: