Woman awarded nearly £290,000 in sexual harassment case

A telesales worker has been awarded nearly £290,000 compensation after being subjected to sexual harassment and bullying by her manager.

Petrina Taylor started working for BT in its marketing department selling internet products in 2008. She told an employment tribunal that in the following year, she was subjected to verbal and suggestive sexual abuse from her manager, Craig Alcock.

Ms Taylor complained to the company about Mr Alcock’s behaviour and he was asked to apologise. However, the abuse continued and Mr Alcock told her she would be axed unless she met her sales targets.

When the bullying became too much for her, she resigned and brought a claim of constructive dismissal. She said the abuse she received had made her depressed and she felt unable to return to similar work in a high pressure sales environment.

The employment tribunal found in her favour and criticised Mr Alcock’s behaviour. The chairman of the tribunal, David Burton, said: “His management style was one of bullying, using offensive, obscene, homophobic and racist language.”

Judge Burton also criticised BT’s handling of the case. “If those problems had been properly addressed by BT at that time the conduct would not have continued and this claim would never have been brought. Consideration should have been given to making arrangements so that Miss Taylor was no longer managed by him or the subject of his malign influence.”

Ms Taylor was awarded a total of £289,877 in compensation. This was to cover injury to her feelings and future loss of earnings.

Please contact Paul Stevens if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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