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£420,000 award – sex-based harassment and victimisation

Published On: November 8th, 2022By

A tribunal has awarded £420,000 in compensation following a successful sex-based harassment and victimisation claim by an employee disinterested in her manager’s advances. 


A female employee was bombarded with inappropriate messages from her manager – including expressions of his feelings for her and peach emojis (widely known to refer to a person’s bottom). She’d refused his advances and raised a grievance. She resigned and suffered “significant and debilitating” post-traumatic stress disorder. The tribunal upheld her claims awarding £420,000 in compensation.

Practical takeaways 

Impartial grievance process – the tribunal found the investigation into the employee’s grievance had labelled her as a “scheming femme fatale” and was predetermined to accept the manager’s explanation. Taking early advice as to who should carry out the grievance process to avoid further discrimination is vital. In the circumstances, the respondent may have been well advised to ask someone from outside of their business to carry out an impartial process.

Up-to-date policies – bullying, harassment and inclusivity policies must be dynamic and engaging (and up to date!). Tribunals are ready and willing to call out employers for out-of-date policies (as this recent case shows).

Training – tribunals expect regular and effective training on your bullying and harassment policies. They take a dim view of overly simplistic and superficial sessions – demonstrating a genuine commitment to tackling harassment is key.

Zero-tolerance – harassment without consequence only breeds a culture of acceptance…and potentially hefty tribunal awards! Even with the right policies and training in place, those tasked with dealing with grievances must be empowered and supported to act consistently and take robust action when required.

Being able to take early and effective advice right when you need it is why our Intelligent Employment is unlimited – find out more!


This update is accurate on the date it was sent (09 November 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.