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31st January 2024

Woman Fired From Job After Rejecting Advances Wins Sex Harassment Claim

Woman wins sex harassment case after being fired for rejecting her bosses advances

A woman fired from £124,000 a year job after rejecting the advances from her boss wins sex harassment employment tribunal claim.

Ms Crabtree, a mother of three, was fired from her £124,000 a year position after she rejected advances from her boss. The senior female executive has won £99,214 in compensation for sexual harassment in the employment tribunal as they were satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, the behaviour was inextricably linked to the fact that the Claimant was a woman.

Marc Bandemer, 59, swamped the Claimant with adoring messages including “you have really gorgeous feet and candy toes” and referring to her as “Belle of the Ball”. The Respondent on 22 April 2022 had sent a message to the Claimant stating she had an ‘awesome little body’ and used a love heart emoji. It is stated that the relationship had been ‘friendly with banter’ at the beginning but this began to evolve into inappropriate comments.

The Respondent had told the Claimant she had an ‘infectious personality’ and ‘are quite easy to become addicted to’. The Claimant stated that she felt ‘totally helpless’ and felt as if she was ‘his property’. The Tribunal stated that there was a period of harassment when the Claimant had asked the Respondent to stop and he was not respecting of this.

In addition to inappropriate comments, the Claimant was presented with a diamond solitaire ring by the Respondent which she states was an act of harassment and direct discrimination. She states she has never worn the ring and this remains in a cupboard. The majority of the Tribunal found that the presentation of the ring was an act of unwanted conduct related to sex, or of a sexual nature in that it was to pursue the claimant romantically. The majority of the Tribunal found that such a large gift would create an intimidating environment for the claimant in circumstances where she had told the respondent she did not want to receive the gift.

In May 2022, the Respondent became hostile towards the Claimant and she was frozen out of the company’s plans to move to Luxembourg and effectively demoted to sales director.

The Tribunal found that he would not have referred to a man as ‘honey’ or said ‘sleepies tight’ to a man. The Respondent stated that he was heterosexual and the Tribunal found that his behaviour towards the Claimant was inextricably linked to the fact that the Claimant was a woman. This is also due to the gender specific language used on a large number of occasions such as ‘girl’, ‘honey’, ‘wife’, and ‘naughty’.

The case highlights the technical way in which the Employment Tribunal reaches a conclusion and how this is not based on a purely moral basis. The remedy judgement is not yet available on the Government website. However, if you can read the full judgement of Ms LA Crabtree v M Bandemer and Others: 1402246/2022 on the Government website.

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