‘Cultural misunderstanding’ costs employer £24,000

After having her claims dismissed by her employer as a ‘cultural misunderstanding’, the employee has won over £24,000 in a sex discrimination case.

The claim had initially been struck out in 2015 due to the tribunal fees not being paid, but after employment tribunal fee’s had been abolished in 2017, the case was reinstated.

A Cambridge Employment Tribunal heard that the women worked for Lincolns Care Ltd between January 2015 and June 2016  and her role was to provide in-home support for adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems.

Whilst working with a male employee (who was of Spanish nationality) in February 2015, he attempted to ‘kiss her’, which the woman initially passed of as a ‘cultural misunderstanding’.

A few days later, the male employee attempted to kiss her again, this time by putting his tongue down her throat. In April of the same year, he ran his hands down her back and tried to touch her bottom, whilst also asking sexually orientated questions. On another occasion later in the same month, it is alleged that he touched her breasts.

When the female employee made a complaint to her employer, Lincolns Care, it was shrugged off as a cultural difference between them and she was advised to ‘push him away’.

Unfortunately the situation did not improve and the employer took no further action against the male employee.

The female employee had also reported the male employee to the police and he was investigated. It was discovered that the male employee was already a convicted sex offender and had already been deported from the UK once before.

Due to the nature of the experience the women had suffered she was signed off sick by her GP in June 2015 and when the male employee returned to work later in June, she decided that she could no work there anymore and found another job a few weeks after she left.

The employment tribunal awarded the female employee just over £24,000 of which £18k was for injury to feelings, just under £875 for loss of earning and a further £5229.04 of interest.

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