Employment Law

Hotel employee sexually harassed and subject to gender discrimination says WRC.

By April 18, 2023 No Comments
Sexually harassed

Sexually harassed in the workplace

Nadine Harty, a prep chef at the Greenway Manor Hotel took a claim against her former employer alleging that she had been subjected to harassment, sexual harassment and discrimination in her workplace. She claimed that she made numerous complaints to her former employer and nothing was done in respect of the issue. She claimed that she was forced to resign from her job because of the issues.

The respondent hotel stated that it took such steps as were reasonably practicable to address the complaints.

Workplace relations adjudication

Ms Harty lodged her complaint with the Workplace Relations Commission under section 77 of the Employment Equality Act 1998. The matter was heard by an adjudication officer, who has issued her decision.

The adjudicator stated that there was clearly inappropriate touching, physical contact, as well as comments of a sexually explicit and suggestive nature directed to Ms Harty by another employee of the hotel. It violated her dignity and created a degrading environment for her. The employer was not in a position to dispute the factual scenario outlined by Ms Harty because it did not carry out a full investigation. In finding her evidence credible, the adjudicator was satisfied that all of events outlined by Ms Harty did in fact occur.

The adjudicator then determined that the hotel did not do enough to prevent the occurrence of harassment and sexual harassment. It was found reasonable, based upon what she was being subjected to in the workplace, that she resigned from her position. The adjudicator awarded Ms Harty a sum of €20,000 for the distress suffered by her as well the effects of the discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment.

The decision serves as a useful reminder of the importance of having robust internal procedures in place to deal with allegations of workplace harassment, including sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination to ensure that employees have a safe working environment and claims can be successfully defended.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*

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