Woman told harassment claim was 'immature' awarded £15,000

A woman who was told she was “immature” for complaining about sexual harassment at work has been awarded £15,000.

Marta Podlecka worked as a cost estimator for bathroom supplies company MYM Global for eight months.

She told the Employment Tribunal that for the last two months of her employment she was subjected to sex discrimination by the owner of the business.

She said he made sexual comments and touched her inappropriately on numerous occasions. She told him not to touch her but felt powerless as he was her boss.

Ms Podlecka also said she was subjected to abuse and unfavourable treatment from colleagues. This would range from derogatory comments about her age and religion to being treated differently to her male co-workers by a colleague.

Ms Podlecka told the owner about these issues and he began an investigation. However, she didn’t feel included in the process and submitted a grievance. She complained about the abusive language and behaviour of her colleague but received no response.

Instead she was dismissed by the owner, who said that she was immature and that the business was “not a kindergarten”.

After the dismissal, Ms Podlecka signed off work for six weeks as her stress and anxiety had left her feeling physically ill.

She brought complaints to the Employment Tribunal of sex discrimination and a failure to pay her notice pay and holiday pay, saying that she had been dismissed because of the formal complaint she had made against her colleague.

MYM Global didn’t appear at the tribunal, which found in favour of Ms Podlecka.

Judge Alliott said: “In my judgment there are a number of aggravating features to the conduct experienced by the claimant (Ms Podlecka). Firstly, it was experienced over a period of three months. Secondly, it involved unwanted sexual advances as well abusive and derogatory treatment on a regular basis. Thirdly, it caused physical and mental illness. Fourthly, it resulted in her losing her job.”

He ordered the company to pay £15,000 to Ms Podlecka for injury to her feelings, loss of earnings, notice pay and holiday pay.

Please contact us for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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