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In the case of Miss S Taylor v Mr A Lewis and others: 1801276/2016, the Employment Tribunal awarded a female employee over £10,000 in compensation after finding that she had been sexually harassed at work.

The facts in Miss S Taylor v Mr A Lewis and others

Miss Taylor commenced employment with 3 Optical Group on 22 February 2016; 3 Optical Group was a partnership owned by three persons: Mr Lewis, Mr Fyfe, and Mr Holmes. 3 Optical Group manufactures and sells optical products. Mr Steve Kerry was Miss Taylor’s line manager at the times relevant to this claim.

During the course of Miss Taylor’s employment she alleged that she was subject to the following conduct from Mr Kerry:

  • That on several occasions he took her to one side, or placed his hand on her arm, before saying “can I ask you something personal?”
  • That he stated to her at the end of February 2016: “you look really sexy… I can’t stop looking at your boobs… I could just grab them”
  • That he stated to her at the beginning of March 2016: “do you miss sex? When was the last time you had sex? It’s only natural”
  • That he stated to her in early Spring 2016: “Your tits look really firm in that top. Ooh, I could just bang them fuck out of them.”
  • That in Spring 2016 Mr Kerry ad spoken to Miss Taylor about homosexuals (stating to her “I despise gays”, “I think that they are sick and dirty” and”I would disown [mu son] till my dying days [if he was gay]. If I was in charge of this country I would get all the gay people together in a concentration camp and put a bullet in every single one of them.”
  • March 2016: that he asked Miss Taylor to close her eyes and, when she did, he reached across to grope her breasts
  • April 2016: that he borrowed a lint roller and returned it covered with hairs
  • That on several occasions he drew penises and wrote “I love Steve” in the dust on her car
  • On 29 April 2016 he wrote “just married” on a piece of white paper which he stuck over her car numberplate
  • That in the week commencing 9 May 2016 he described to her a hypothetical circumstance and then stated “Well I would just fucking rape you then”

On 13 May 2016 Miss Taylor went off work sick. On 16 May 2016 she submitted a formal complaint complaining of Mr Kerry’s behaviour. She also contacted the police. Mr Kerry was subsequently issued with a formal written warning; Miss Taylor appealed and her appeal was, in part, upheld. She resigned, however, on 16 July 2016 as a result of the sexual harassment she had suffered and because the business had failed to properly address her grievance.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal (ET)

The Employment Tribunal held that the following incidents constituted harassment:

  • That he stated to her at the end of February 2016: “you look really sexy… I can’t stop looking at your boobs… I could just grab them” – the Tribunal found that this constituted sexual harassment and sex-related harassment
  • That he stated to her in early Spring 2016: “Your tits look really firm in that top. Ooh, I could just bang them fuck out of them.” – the Tribunal found that this constituted sexual harassment and sex-related harassment
  • March 2016: that he asked Miss Taylor to close her eyes and, when she did, he reached across to grope her breasts – the Tribunal found that this constituted sexual harassment and sex-related harassment
  • That in the week commencing 9 May 2016 he described to her a hypothetical circumstance and then stated “Well I would just fucking rape you then” – the Tribunal found that this constituted sexual harassment and sex-related harassment
  • That in Spring 2016 Mr Kerry ad spoken to Miss Taylor about homosexuals (stating to her “I despise gays”, “I think that they are sick and dirty” and”I would disown [mu son] till my dying days [if he was gay]. If I was in charge of this country I would get all the gay people together in a concentration camp and put a bullet in every single one of them.” – the Tribunal found that this constituted sexual orientation-related harassment

The Employment Tribunal awarded Miss Taylor £10,619.75 in compensation, comprised of loss of earnings and injury to feelings.

Our solicitors’ views on the case of Miss S Taylor v Mr A Lewis and others

Chris Hadrill, the partner in the employment department at Redmans, made the following comment on the case: “Employers must make sure that employees are provided with adequate and reasonable training on workplace diversity and equality; if they fail to do so then, depending on the circumstances, it may be difficult for them to succeed with defending an Employment Tribunal claim for harassment.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Miss S Taylor v Mr A Lewis and others: 1801276/2016 can be found here.

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

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