Your privacy is important to us.
Today it was announced that former Morelli’s Ice Cream Ltd. employee, Shauna McFarland, was found to be a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace following an Industrial Tribunal judgement. This headline-making case highlights how important it is for Employers to take good quality and prompt legal advice when identifying and managing allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Within the Tribunal’s decision, a great deal of criticism was levied at the Employer’s treatment of the Claimant’s complaints of sexual harassment. Indeed, it is likely that the outcome could have been very different for the Employer if they had acted properly on her complaints.
The Tribunal has said in the decision:
“There was no form of investigation; the claimant was never informed by the first respondent [the Employer] of what, if any steps, had been taken to address the issue; and there was no follow-up of even basic enquiry as to her welfare.”
The Tribunal also went on to say:
“The tribunal is satisfied that the second respondent’s continued, revived and repeated conduct, whilst his own choice, was significantly boosted by the first respondent’s complete failure to meaningfully address it. The first respondent by its actions and inaction, at crucial points throughout this case, knowingly placed the claimant in harm’s way. […]”
The Employer also attracted criticism for the atmosphere within which the Claimant was expected to provide repeated descriptions of her allegations in their investigation.
It is important as an Employer to be able to identify Sexual Harassment or allegations of it. Sexual Harassment can include:
If you have a concern there is Sexual Harassment occurring in the workplace or you have received a complaint of Sexual Harassment and you want to ensure you act on it appropriately please contact our Employment team for further advice.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor.