NHS trust’s former HR director wins tribunal claim over chairman’s sexual advances

sexual-harassment-nhs

An HR director in the NHS was constructively dismissed and discriminated against after she rejected the sexual advances of the trust’s chairman, an employment tribunal has held. Stephen Simpson rounds up tribunal decisions reported in the previous week.

NHS trust’s former HR director wins claim over chairman’s sexual advances
In Marks v Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the trust’s former director of workforce and organisational development brought unfair dismissal and sex discrimination claims.

Mrs Marks, a “highly experienced” HR professional, was in charge of the HR function at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

She was also responsible for the trust’s organisational development, education and learning.

She became friendly with Mr Baines, who was the chairman of the trust. They began to have lunch together regularly, and were described as “close confidantes”. They would talk about personal as well as work issues.

However, there were indications that the relationship was going to change when Mr Baines told her that he “loved her” while they were at the pub for drinks, before she went on leave to get married.

Their relationship continued to be friendly for a period after she returned from leave. However, the relationship soured after Mr Baines indicated that he wanted a sexual relationship.

Mrs Marks attempted to cool his expectations, but Mr Baines’ behaviour became increasingly erratic. He accused her of having an affair with another colleague, left “long lover letters” on her desk, and sent her abusive text messages. These included a text message calling her a “whore”.

She was subsequently suspended out of the blue over allegations of bullying colleagues. Although she raised a grievance about her treatment, she later resigned.

Mrs Marks brought successful claims of constructive dismissal and various sex discrimination claims, including a claim for sexual harassment.

Read more details of the case and the full judgment…

 

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