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

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

    Contact us

    Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

    T: 020 3397 3603
    E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
    W: www.redmans.co.uk

    Testimonials

    4.78 Average

    269 Reviews

    Sue W

    The people at Redmans talk to you with respect and make you feel like they take your situation personal. They clearly care and are extremely professional. I have recommended Redmans to many people.

    Posted 3 days ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors were consistently prompt, efficient and professional from the start of my reaching out to them for support in relation to contentious negotiations of an employment matter that continued for almost two months resulting in a positive settlement agreement. Chris Hadrill was diligent, thorough, empathetic and objective in his advice and guidance, showing deep and broad knowledge of the law and legal processes plus extensive practical experience in handling complex matters, resulting in clear and pragmatic advice in ambiguous circumstances that resulted in a very good outcome. I fully recommend Chris Hadrill and Redmans Solicitors! I have made this review anonymous purely because of the confidentiality obligations in the settlement agreement concluded.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Michelle W

    Redmans solicitors provided legal support and advice for a settlement agreement. Excellent customer service, very professional. The senior associate solicitor kept me updated throughout the process, showed empathy and the agreement was signed-off / completed within the agreed timeline.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mark W

    Redmans Solicitors were extremely professional and helpful! Chris Hadrill handled my case and was an amazing help! His guidance, advice and understanding to my redundancy settlement were always clear, concise and very helpful and I am very grateful to him, and glad I found Redmans to help with my settlement. I highly recommend them!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Alison M

    Very happy with the advice I received

    Posted 1 month ago

    Margaret A

    I found everything about the company to be extremely professional and efficient. During my initial contact with Chris, he listened well and was reassuring, so I felt confident that my case would be well handled. Caroline was excellent at explaining all the legal points and answering my questions, as well as being very supportive and understanding throughout the process. I would definitely recommend this company.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sanja K

    Very efficient and professional service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found the advice I was given by Redmans Solicitors to be clear and useful and found the solicitor on my case to be both knowledgeable and approachable.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karen T

    Great service. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service from Chris & Mel Chin. The best outcome was achieved from the redundancy process. They were extremely thorough, listened carefully and acted swiftly on my behalf. I highly recommend Redmans Solicitors

    Posted 1 month ago

    Shanine M

    Excellent service, thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found Caroline and Chris very Helpful and provided excellent service. Caroline especially provided great legal advice and made me feel at ease with the whole process. I would highly recommend them. Thank you!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Gayle B

    Excellent company very professional would definitely recommend

    Posted 1 month ago

    Alex K

    Redmans provided an excellent service, timely and effective. Will definitely recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Great job done on my employment law

    Posted 1 month ago

    Dominica S

    Caroline & Chris were very prompt and efficient.Very happy with the service and will definitely recommend Redmans Solicitor to everyone !

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sandra K

    If you are looking for a group of solicitors who are Professional, Caring and on point, then look no futher than Redmans. I was literally hand held through out my case. Can not find fault with this company, very happy with the result and the service i received. Would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I found dealing with Redmans a pleasure. I got to speak to someone quickly, the advice was profferred promplty and the service was not 'pushy'. In addition, the administration was excellent. What more could you ask for?

    Posted 1 month ago

    ALISDAIR L

    Redmans did a brilliant job regarding my redundancy agreement. I miss read an extra charge which wasnt the case so doing a new review to clarify. I would recommend Redmans for any employment law issues you may have.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Christos G

    Great legal advice and quick correspondence. Very supportive and helpful through the entire process. Thank you Redmans!

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Chris Hadrill advised me on a redundancy settlement agreement. He was very responsive, easy to deal with and gave me good advice at a stressful time.

    Posted 2 months ago