Colin Gromie, 49, was ordered to pay Xara Grogan, 29, £16,500 in compensation after he was found to have sexually harassed and victimised her during the course of her employment.
Ms Grogan, who is the ex-girlfriend of Mr Crombie’s stepson Paul Talbot, started work at Petre Dental in Clayton-Le-Moors, Lancashire, in October 2008, and alleged that the following conduct had occurred whilst she worked for him:
- That, after Ms Grogan had had an argument with Mr Talbot, Mr Crombie told her that they were both with the wrong partners and tried to hug and kiss her
- That he shared “sexist” messages with her in text messages
- That he offered to fly her to Barcelona
Ms Grogan alleged that after she rejected his advances Mr Crombie isolated her, treated her to extended silences and outbursts, forced her to work in cold conditions, and told her she should “know her place”. She also alleged that she was told that she would be “out on her ear” if she attempted to join a union.
Ms Grogan submitted a number of grievances regarding her treatment at the dental practice and resigned in September 2013 for the reason that she was frustrated with not having her grievances answered. She subsequently issued an Employment Tribunal claim for sexual harassment, victimisation, and constructive dismissal.
The claim came to the Employment Tribunal earlier this year, with the Employment Tribunal finding in Ms Grogan’s favour in respect of her claims for sexual harassment, victimisation and constructive dismissal, and awarded her compensation of £16,500.
Employment Judge Ross stated in the judgment that it was the tribunal’s finding that Mr Cromie had indeed attempted to kiss Ms Grogan as alleged, despite him denying the allegation, and that she had been subjected to a number of detriments by Mr Cromie, including unjustified disciplinary action. Employment Judge Ross also stated: “There had been a high degree of familiarity, based on her position in the extended family, their close working relationship and the sexual language which passed between them.”
Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers should take grievances – particularly grievances regarding sexual harassment – extremely seriously and should take prompt, fair and conclusive steps to investigate and resolve any grievances. A failure to do so could potentially result in an Employment Tribunal claim.”