Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In the case of Stretch v Ballymore Construction Services Ltd ET3202196/2019 the Employment Tribunal ruled that Ms Stretch had been sexually harassed by a colleague and that her employer had failed to take steps to prevent Ms Stretch from having to work with her harasser.

The facts in Miss S Stretch v Ballymore Construction Services Ltd

Miss Stretch (the “Claimant”) commenced her employment with Ballymore Construction Services Ltd (the “Respondent”) on 2 January 2017 as an Administrator, initially employed (until April 2018) at the Respondent’s Wardian site.  One of the Claimant’s colleagues on the Wardian project was Mr Fareed, whom the Claimant already knew from having previously worked together for a different employer. During 2017 the Claimant and Mr Fareed both lived in the Tottenham area of London and Mr Fareed gave the Claimant a lift to work in his car from time to time.

On 7 September 2017 the Claimant organised a work’s night out to the Bengal Quay Restaurant in Docklands. Around 12 members of staff attended. Mr Fareed (whose birthday coincided with the date) attended along with the Respondent’s Project Manager. At the end of the night Mr Fareed offered the Claimant a lift home and she accepted; however, on the journey home Mr Fareed made a stream of unwelcome, inappropriate and obvious sexual advances and comments to her, saying in explicit terms that he had always wanted to have sex with her and that he wished to leave his wife and family for her, that he touched himself whilst doing so, and that at one point he put a hand on her leg (or at least attempted to do so). The Claimant attempted to treat his behaviour as a joke in bad taste and then used her mobile phone as a kind of self-protection by calling her boyfriend and her line manager, whom she spoke to for the remainder of the journey. She was keen to get out of the car and asked to be dropped off some way from her house which Mr Fareed complied with.

Upon her return to work the next day the Claimant discussed the incident with her line manager, who was sympathetic, and got in touch with the Project Manager and HR representative for further guidance. The Claimant was advised of her options which included: 1) making a formal complaint (with the hint being given that it might not help her career progression); and 2) criminal proceedings. The Claimant decided against pursuing either course of  action. 

The Claimant and Mr Fareed were still left to work in the same large office, although in different rows. In 2018 the Claimant moved to another project (Goodluck Hope project) and was happy there; she therefore did not expect to come across Mr Fareed again. However, at some point during 2019 the Claimant became aware that there was a possibility, or at least a rumour, that Mr Fareed might be moving to the Goodluck Hope project in the near future. This rumour caused the Claimant considerable concern and apprehension. When she raised this with the Respondent she was told Mr Fareed would be working on a different floor to the Claimant; however, the Claimant was still not comfortable with this, and the idea of Mr Fareed working near her caused her stress and anxiety.

On 19 July 2019 the Claimant submitted a complaint via email. The Respondent took this as a formal grievance, which increased the pressure on the Claimant to participate in grievance proceedings, and the Claimant was led to feel that she was reliving the incidents of and relive the experience of 7 September 2017 again. The Respondent concluded that whilst the grievance process was ongoing the Claimant would continue to work on the Goodluck Hope project, as would Mr Fareed – there was no discussion of any possible relocation of either of them.

The Claimant submitted her resignation on 31 July 2019, which took effect on 30 August 2019. The Claimant then submitted claims to the Employment Tribunal of unfair constructive dismissal and sexual harassment.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal unanimously found that the Claimant’s complaints of unfair constructive dismissal and sexual harassment, in breach of s.26 Equality Act 2010, succeeded, as follows:

Constructive dismissal

The Employment Tribunal held that the following conduct on the Respondent’s part was conduct which would inevitably undermine or destroy the Claimant’s confidence in a continuing working relationship:

  • Refusing to consider relocating Mr Fareed to another project than the Goodluck Hope project;
  • Forcing the Claimant to go through a further grievance process;
  • Informing Mr Fareed of the details of the Claimant’s complaint;

Sexual harassment

The Employment Tribunal found that the behaviour of Mr Fareed on 7 September 2017 amounted to sexual harassment.

The Claimant’s claim was due to be listed for a Remedy Hearing before the Tribunal.

Our lawyers’ views on the case

Stephen Norton, a legal adviser at Redmans, commented on the case: “The Respondent failed to deal fairly and transparently with the  Claimant’s original complaint of sexual harassment, resulting in a fundamental lack of due process for the Claimant to have her complaint dealt with at the outset.  The Employment Tribunal found Mr Fareed’s conduct on 7 September 2017 to amount to sexual harassment, and it further found that the Respondent’s abject failure to (among other things) find an alternative work location for Mr Fareed to be a fundamental breach of her contract of employment.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Miss S Stretch v Ballymore Construction Services Ltd -ET3202196/2019 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).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Testimonials

    4.80 Average

    330 Reviews

    Arabella B

    I am so grateful to Caroline Lewis at Redmans Solicitor’s for helping me with my Unfair Dismissal Case. I was seriously impressed how easy Redmans made the whole case, and am very happy with my Settlement. I have recommended your firm to at least 5 people in the last 3 months.. Thank you Caroline and everyone at Redmans. You are Brilliant .

    Posted 7 hours ago

    Anonymous

    Highly professional and efficient service.

    Posted 12 hours ago

    Tanya T

    I had the pleasure of Chris and Sacha’s experience with a work matter. They made me feel at ease with the process and explained everything thoroughly. Would happily recommend Redmans especially Chris and use them if needed I’m the future. Thank you!

    Posted 13 hours ago

    Anonymous

    I used the services of Redmans solicitors and was a quick outstanding service I engaged them in a settlement agreement after been made redundant extremely professional at all that was done and would definetly use them again

    Posted 14 hours ago

    Adrian A

    Spot on support, enough to get the matter at hand sorted. No beating around the bush, no nonsense - got the job done and we all moved on.

    Posted 14 hours ago

    Mark Q

    Five Stars I was most impressed by the attention, courtesy, speed and above all, professionalism in dealing with my Settlement Agreement. I would certainly have no problem in recommending this firm to anyone in need of their services.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Ade A

    I was surprisingly impressed by how Redmans Solicitors handle my case. From the moment I call them to the absolute end of my case, they always look after my best interest.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Malcolm P

    they were there when others were not

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service all the way through from start to finish. Really great support and guidance from the team, they secured the offer that I wanted. I can't recommend Redmans highly enough and will be sure to use their services again should the need arise.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Efficient and quick service!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karen B

    Quick response very helpful Issue raised dealt with very quickly

    Posted 1 month ago

    Carmen T

    Redmans give Great service and advice on reading contracts. They can explain all the solicitors jargon into words that you can understand. I received excellent service an I will use them again and again.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Very grateful for Mel’s efforts in handling my case from start to finish which I would have found very stressful without it. She was very professional, friendly and we had a positive outcome. Highly recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Nalin W

    Mel Chin was my Legal Executive when I engaged the services of Redmans Solicitors to help with a redundancy matter. She was incredibly approachable and professional from start to finish. Specially I have to mention regarding prompt reply to all my email queries, It was super quick. I would thoroughly recommend Mel Chin. Many Thanks

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    I'd highly recommend Redmans Solicitors. Mel was very helpful and assisted me throughout my case.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Sacha was very thorough and very helpful, with great advice on when to act and when to wait on my case.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 2 months ago

    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Posted 3 months ago