The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has been engulfed in a widely reported scandal involving not only the CEO, Tony Danker, but other high-level executives who are being investigated. The allegations suggest that there has been extensive sexual harassment on the part of the senior staff and Tony Danker has been summarily dismissed to his surprise, despite his contention that he did not intentionally cause distress. The result of these allegations, if proven, could be detrimental to the CBI.
It is not unreasonable for employees to expect that they will not be placed in a position where they are subjected to harassment of any description for any reason whilst in the workplace. The more senior the person perpetrating the harassment often leads to both the victim feeling they cannot raise the issues with human resources and the human resources staff concerned by what action they can take against their own management.
Daniel Theron, a partner, commented "employers must not fail their employees and allegations of harassment cannot go unchallenged. A thorough fair investigation is the only way for a business to protect its staff and itself." Daniel further commented "as we have seen in the events involving the CBI, which have now attracted the attention of the City of London police who are now investigating, it demonstrates that the line is very thin between deplorable behaviour and actions that are criminally punishable. The CBI may have taken action too late as some of the allegations that have come to light pre-date Mr. Danker's tenure and questions are being asked as to whether it will result in the dissolution of the CBI as organisations move to distance themselves. All commercial organisations should be considering The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill, which is very close to being enacted, as it will place even more responsibility on employers to safeguard their workers."
Giambrone & Partners have extensive experience in successfully representing employees in the Employment Tribunal in matters involving discriminatory harassment. We understand that it can be daunting to make an accusation in a workplace if there is an environment where questionable behaviour and subtle micro-aggression are passed off and go unchallenged, eventually leading to a culture where misogyny is normalised.
An employee that has been subjected to unacceptable comments and behaviour on the part of senior executives should document all the comments and unacceptable conduct and inform the human resources department as soon as possible. It is important to raise any grievance held in the workplace as soon as possible and in accordance with the internal grievance policy and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. If there is no response or an inadequate reaction and there is resistance to addressing the behaviour of the senior executive, you should take legal advice as soon as possible. Employment law claims are time sensitive and specific legal advice should be sought as soon as possible to ensure your claim is not time-barred.
Discriminatory behaviour that impacts on an employee may attract significant compensation, subject to the circumstances. An example of the consequences of not properly addressing these issues is in the case of Beadles Group –v- Angelica Graham, where 21-year-old Ms. Graham won an award of £180,000 after working in the firm for one week and having been subjected to outrageous sexual harassment which caused her post-traumatic stress disorder.
Clause 4 of The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill proposes an uplift in compensation where it is deemed that an employer breached its duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent harassment; the level of uplift to be determined by the circumstances of each case.
Daniel Theron advises on litigation in family law, employment, cross-border debt recovery and defamation. Daniel has considerable expertise in contentious cross-border family law, including complex financial arrangements and enjoys a high level of success in both debt recovery and employment law.
Daniel enjoys a reputation for being meticulous in his analysis of the merits of a matter and tenacious in his pursuit of a successful outcome for clients. He frequently impressively navigates challenging situations culminating in an excellent level of achievement, in excess of all expectations.
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