Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Ms M Travers v Places for People Leisure Ltd and Others: 3201488/2019 an employee was successful in suing her employer for sexual harassment after a number of unwanted touching incidents from a male employee. The Tribunal also found that her employer had failed to implement anti-harassment policies that they had put in place, rendering them worthless.

The facts in Ms M Travers v Places for People Leisure Ltd and Others

Ms M T Travers commenced employment  at Blackwater Leisure Centre part of Places for People Leisure Limited (first respondent) initially as a full time lifeguard before becoming a part-time  receptionist and recreation assistant (following a series of blackouts) from 18 May 2015. She was 20 years old at the time. Her line manager was Ms Abbot-Jones (the third respondent), the Operations Manager.  During the course of her employment she alleged:

  • That she was subjected to sexual harassment;
  • That she was subjected to age discrimination;
  • That there was an unlawful deduction from her wages;
  • That she was unfairly constructively dismissed.

In June 2017 the company introduced an E-learning platform which amongst other things covered their policies on sexual harassment.

On 18 December 2018, Ms Travers was involved in an altercation with a male employee G, who worked as a maintenance engineer for the company.  She made a statement alleging inappropriate touching by G.  Ms Abbot-Jones told her that an investigation would be carried out. At this stage the Claimant had not mentioned the two other earlier incidents involving G. Mr Mark Taylor the Contracts Manager (second respondent) oversaw the grievance hearing.

Ms Travers did not come back into work after 19 December 2018. She was signed off work sick for anxiety disorder due to the actions of G.

On 20 December 2018, Ms Abbot-Jones arranged the date for the grievance hearing and sent out the letter which Mr Taylor approved and signed and a copy of the grievance policy was also sent to the Ms Travers. Mr Taylor took the decision as both G and Ms Travers were on leave that on their return they could work alternative shifts (as G only worked 2 days a week) allowing them both working whilst avoiding having to see each other.

On 8 January 2019 there was a grievance meeting where Ms Travers attended with her companion Lesley Davies.  

 On 24 January 2019,  Mr. Taylor had a follow up grievance meeting with Ms Travers. Ms Travers raised the issue of two other historic allegations regarding G and her concerns on the way they were handled by Ms Abbot-Jones.

On 20 March 2019 Mr Taylor wrote to Ms Travers confirming his decision on her grievance. In summary :

  • CCTV evidence inclusive but combined with other evidence more likely than not inappropriate touching occurred – allegation partially upheld
  • Touching abdomen area – allegation upheld
  • Charge of insensitive behaviour by Ms. Abbot-Jones handling of complaints – allegation partially upheld

Ms Travers appealed the grievance outcome and he appeal hearing was held on 8 April 2019 dealt with by Mr Simon Churchman. Mr Churchman found no failings in the way the grievance procedure was handled.

On 1 May 2019 tendered her resignation with effect from 5 May 2019.

Ms Travers brought claims to the Employment Tribunal for  constructively unfairly dismissed,  sex harassment, age discrimination and  unlawful deduction  from her wages in her Claim Form submitted on 23 May 2019.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

Sexual harassment

The ET found in favour of Ms Traver’s claim for sexual harassment. They found that G had sexually harassed Ms Travers by doing the following:

  • That G had inappropriately touched her on 18 December 2018, and that he had sexually harassed her on two previous occasions

The Tribunal further held that the Places for People Leisure Ltd had not taken any reasonable steps to prevent the harassment occurring, so it could not defend itself from vicarious liability for G’s conduct (under section 109 Equality Act 2010): the company’s policies regarding sexual harassment had been put in place prior to the acts of sexual harassment but did not “have teeth” and did not prevent G from sexually harassing the Claimant.

You can read more about the law relating to sexual harassment here.

Constructive dismissal

The Employment Tribunal rejected Ms Travers’ claim for constructive unfair dismissal finding there had been no fundamental breach in her contract in the way her grievance was handled or that the organisation’s treatment of the grievance had caused her to resign.

Age discrimination

The Tribunal also rejected her claim for age discrimination, finding that her treatment that the organisation treated her the same way that it would have treated anyone at the organisation who had made a complaint of sexual harassment.

Unlawful deduction from her wages

The Employment Tribunal rejected her claim for unlawful deduction from wages, holding that a deduction had been made but that this deduction was legitimate: it was simply recouping money that the Claimant had inadvertently been overpaid by the organisation as full sick pay rather than Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), and therefore not an unlawful deduction from her wages.

Our lawyers view on Ms M Travers v Places for People Leisure Ltd and Others

Steve Norton, an advanced paralegal at Redmans, commented on the case “In this case the failure of the employer to  take reasonable steps to ensure all staff were properly trained up in their policies, in this case sexual harassment,  proved fatal to their case, merely having the policies in place was not sufficient.”  

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Ms M Travers v Places for People Leisure Ltd and Others: 3201488/2019 can be found here.

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 2 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