Last week a tribunal heard how a manager of one of Britain’s most prestigious shoe makers was accused of hiring only attractive saleswomen with the intent to sexually harass them.
The manager in question, 60 year old father of two, Mr Guerbi, is being sued for sexual harassment, sex discrimination and victimisation after he was accused of propositioning female staff and isolating those who spurned him. Miss Avota and Miss Bohasani were two of his employees claiming that they were among his victims and that managers at the company ignored his behaviour.
Miss Bolhasani wept at the Central London employment tribunal after alleging that Mr Guerbi sexually assaulted her in his office and forced a female colleague to sit on his lap.
Bullying and harassment can unfortunately be common in workplaces, and it is not always obvious. All managers and workers are charged with ensuring that they conduct their business on behalf of the Company in such a way as to ensure that freedom from discrimination, bullying, harassment & victimisation is enjoyed by all employees and workers at all times.
The Equality Act 2010 defines harassment as unwanted conduct which is related to age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, and any such conduct is unlawful, with no compensation limit should an employee win their employment tribunal claim – Miss Avota and Miss Bolhasani are seeking in the region of £100,000 in compensation for the case against their manager.
People do not always feel able or confident enough to complain, particularly if, as in the case against Mr Guebi, the harasser is a manager or senior member of staff. Sometimes the employee will simply resign in order to escape the situation, as Miss Avota chose to do last July. It is therefore very important for employers to ensure that all staff are aware of available options to deal with potential bullying or harassment, and that any complaints are treated sensitively and confidentially.
Bullying and harassment creates an unhappy and unproductive workplace with poor morale, poor employee relations, loss of respect for managers or supervisors, poor performance or lost productivity, absence, high turnover and potentially costly, unpleasant employment tribunals and other court cases.
MyHRdept’s policies and procedures are designed to ensure that best efforts are made to remove bullying and harassment from the workplace. Our policy sets out the Company’s principles on such matters and the procedures to be followed by employees who are witness to or believe they have been the victim of discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation, whether from a colleague, manager, contractor or any other individual connected with the Company.
Alongside policies and procedures, myHRdept can also equip managers and supervisors with the necessary awareness, knowledge and skills to prevent issues arising and deal with employment relations issues to create a more productive working environment.
If you have any questions around bullying, harassment or victimisation, or would like advice on a potential situation, call us today on 01628 820515. If you’re thinking of outsourcing your HR why not contact myhrdept.co.uk. With full service Premium Plus packages for medium sized companies typically from only a few hundred per month (and from only £100 per month for smaller companies and start-ups) and fixed price HR support options available for one-off issues, we believe we offer the best combination of quality and price available in the UK. Call us on 01628 820515 to discuss your requirements or email us here and we’ll call you back.