Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Wade v Young & Co’s Brewery Ltd & M McLaughlan ET/2301162/16 & ET/2302707/16 the Employment Tribunal held that a female employee was sexually harassed when her manager pulled down her tracksuit bottoms.

The facts in Wade v Young & Co’s Brewery Ltd & M McLaughlan

Ms Wade started working for Young’s & Co Brewery Ltd (“Youngs”) on 10 July 2013 as an assistant manager. In 2016 Ms Wade was working at the Crown Tavern, and the manager at the pub was Mr McLaughlin.

On 10 February 2016, which was normally not a day that Ms Wade worked, she attended work in order to do a stocktake. Ms Wade wore tracksuit bottoms to do the stocktake, despite a Youngs policy which states that tracksuits should not be worn when working (including when doing stocktakes). Ms Wade alleged that on that day she was talking to colleagues when Mr McLaughlin walked passed and pulled her tracksuit bottoms down to her knees – Ms Wade found this particularly distressing as she was not wearing any underwear.

Ms Wade went home that evening and told her mother what had happened. She asked her mother to contact Mr Kennedy, a manager at head office, and her mother did so the next day (11 February 2016). Mr Kennedy stated that he would start an investigation into the matter.

A grievance investigation was commenced and evidence collected – the witness statements that Mr Kennedy collected in the course of the investigation were contradictory, with three statements undermining Ms Wade’s version of events and only one broadly supporting it. Mr Kennedy found that Mr McLaughlin had tugged at Ms Wade’s trousers in passing, but that he did not believe that this action constituted sexual harassment. An appeal upheld these findings.

Mr McLaughlin was subsequently subjected to a disciplinary on the grounds of inappropriate behaviour and given a final written warning.

In July 2016 Ms Wade started a relationship with a colleague, Mr Santos, a supervisor at the pub she was then working at (Ms Wade was working as an assistant manager and responsible for Mr Santos). On 8 July 2016 Mr Santos was allowed to go home two hours early by Ms Wade – the reason that she gave that permission was that she was going to Wireless Music Festival with Mr Santos. Mr Finch, the manager of the pub Ms Wade was working in at that time, was not asked for his permission, and the head chef complained the next day about Mr Santos going home early.

The next day Mr Santos was 30 minutes late to work. He arrived with Ms Wade (who was on time for work). Mr Finch approached Ms Wade and stated to her that he was concerned that there could be the perception that Ms Wade was condoning or authorising Mr Santos’ lateness. Mr Finch approached them and asked if they were in a relationship – they confirmed that they were. Mr Finch then stated that if this was the case then it may be better if one of them transferred to another of Youngs’ pubs.

Ms Wade attended work on 9, 10, and 11 July 2016. On 12 July 2016 Ms Wade came to work and submitted her notice of resignation. The reason that she gave for her resignation was that she was unhappy with the way that Mr Finch had spoken to her on 8 July 2016 and that she felt that there were “double standards” at Youngs, in that she alleged that all three of her previous General Managers had been in relationships with colleagues.

Ms Wade subsequently submitted Employment Tribunal claims for sexual harassment, direct sex discrimination, and constructive unfair dismissal.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Wade v Young & Co’s Brewery Ltd & M McLaughlan

The Employment Tribunal dismissed Ms Wade’s claims for constructive dismissal and direct sex discrimination, but upheld her claim for sexual harassment.

Constructive unfair dismissal (section 94 Employment Rights Act 1996)

The Tribunal rejected Ms Wade’s claim for constructive unfair dismissal – it found that the most likely reason for Ms Wade’s resignation was because her commute from Eastbourne to her workplace in London was too great.

Direct sex discrimination (section 13 Equality Act 2010)

The Employment Tribunal found that Ms Wade was not subjected to direct sex discrimination, finding that Mr Kennedy’s conduct in undertaking the grievance investigation and that Mr Finch’s conduct on 9 July 2016 did not constitute unfavourable treatment or that she was subjected to such unfavourable treatment because of her sex.

Sexual harassment (section 26(2) Equality Act 2010)

The Employment Tribunal held that whether Mr McLaughlin had pulled Ms Wade’s tracksuit bottoms down (on 12 April 2016) slightly or, as alleged by Ms Wade, down to her knees, the act of pulling down her tracksuit bottoms was conduct which was sexual in nature which violated Ms Wade’s dignity, particularly given she was not wearing underwear. The Tribunal therefore upheld Ms Wade’s claim for sexual harassment, although it noted that it appeared that the effect on Ms Wade was unlimited.

The Employment Tribunal ordered that a remedy hearing be held in due course in order to consider compensation.

 

Our solicitors’ view on Wade v Young & Co’s Brewery Ltd & M McLaughlan

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “The Employment Tribunal held in this case that the simple act of pulling the Claimant’s trousers down (whether a slight tug or otherwise) was a sexual act that was unwanted by the Claimant and violated her dignity, therefore upholding her claim for sexual harassment.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal 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

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

    371 Reviews

    Jonathan L

    The service I received was friendly and professional. I appreciated the timely communications and Mel was always available for any questions I had. I'd definitely recommend Redmans and will use them in a heartbeat should the situation arise again.

    Posted 6 days ago

    Glyn B

    Provided a great service, covered all my requirements

    Posted 1 week ago

    Fidel A

    Redmans Solicitors recently helped me navigate a recent employment termination settlement agreement. Chris Hadrill is very professional and you will be in good hands with him. I score Redmans 4 out of 5 because things had to move fast and felt the team member assigned to my case wasn't very responsive at times. Having said that, I was very happy with the outcome and have no hesitation in recommending their services.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Nigel A

    Chris Hadrill is hugely impressive - the right blend of assured calm and savvy professionalism. I've already recommended him to friends and family.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Matt O

    I was hugely impressed with the ease of being able to work with Redmans Solicitors and their professional approach. Mel was really clear around the process, and costings required and I felt comfortable throughout. I would certainly recommend.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Bryan G

    Great response, and also happy to assist

    Posted 1 week ago

    David L

    I was made a settlement offer by my employer to terminate my emplyment early. Redmans helped me understand the offer, and ensured that it was fair for someone in my position. They made a very stressful situation much easier. Excellent service.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    I can highly recommend Redmans. The service was professional and prompt and I would not hesitate to use them again. Thanks

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Overall I am satisfied with the performance from Redmans. The reason I have given 4 stars is that I had quite a lot difficulty in contacting the representative which was initially nominated for me. However, when I contacted Chris instead, he was excellent over the phone and secured a great outcome in short order. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Chris and Redmans were a great help. Effective and efficient, quick response from my first enquiry and then straightforward and attentive throughout with ultimately a positive outcome. I will use them again and recommend them.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Marie P

    Great service, quick responses, good advice and all in a no nonsense, no jargon manner. Would definitely recommend.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Rana was amazingly thorough and professional!

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    I am extremely happy with the legal advice I was provided with. My case was resolved to the best of my expectations. Thank you very much for your professional help.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Shahzad R

    Chris and his team were excellent. They provided sound advice and consultation that resulted in more cash than was offered. Would definitely recommend.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Sanjay B

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mel Chin, for all her support during my settlement process. Where she provided a professional service and was understanding. I would confidently recommend Redmans Solicitors to my friends and family. Thank you and wishing you all a Merry Christmas.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Paul O

    Excellent response time and communication during my dealings with Redmans

    Posted 1 month ago

    Gil T

    I don’t normally write reviews, but thought it was time on this occasion. Just wanted to say that I highly recommend Redmans - especially Rana Tandon, who helped me navigate around my employment contract. Rana was meticulous and thorough and all over my needs. Would I use Redmans again ? ..absolutely

    Posted 1 month ago

    Stephanie D

    Very thorough and professional service. I was very nervous about my employment case, as I had never dealt with anything like it before. However, the solicitors who handled my case made sure I understood everything. I was never kept in the dark and Redmans kept me constantly informed about what was going on with my case. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors

    Posted 1 month ago

    Richard S

    Chris and Sacha were great throughout the entire process. Chris was very helpful once the initial discussions with my company began and before we agreed there was a case. Sacha was very responsive, patient and helpful throughout ensuring I felt I had the right information to make the best decision on next steps. A close friend and wife have both used Redmans in the past few years for unfair dismissals and the service continues to be first-class and I would strongly recommend them again. They definitely help reduce the anxiety that comes with uncertainty around new processes and situations. Thank you!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jianya

    Very nice and patient went through the whole document with me.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Susan L

    Very helpful and led me through the redundancy process.

    Posted 1 month ago