Employer could be liable to pay alleged rape victim compensation

The employer of a City recruitment consultant, who allegedly sexually assaulted a female colleague at a company-owned West End apartment following a charity pub quiz, could face claims for compensation.

Commenting on the case, Bettina Bender, partner at employment law firm CM Murray, said: “Evening social events, particularly where alcohol has been involved, can lead to acts of inappropriate behaviour which may then leave the employer exposed to a claim.

“The firm in question (which has not been named in court) in this reported case could be liable to pay compensation to the female employee affected under unfair dismissal and sex discrimination legislation, provided the employment tribunal proceedings were lodged in time.

“The law very clearly states that employers can be liable for the behaviour of their employees, even in certain circumstances after official working hours.”

The case concerns Sukhbir ‘Sonny’ Dhillon of Hertford, who allegedly dragged the secretary into a bedroom before holding her down and trying to rape her, jurors heard at Southwark Crown Court.

The court heard that the 35-year-old married father-of-two was a partner at a City recruitment firm when the alleged incident happened on 17 September last year.Prosecutor Lesley Jones told jurors that Dhillon and the alleged victim, who was in her late 20s, both went to a charity pub quiz after work. After the quiz at Davy’s Wine Bar in Pall Mall, Dhillon suggested the woman stay at the company’s Jermyn Street flat nearby, rather than catch a late train home.

He denies attempted rape, two counts of assault by penetration, and two charges of sexual assault.

The trial continues.

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