Employee succeeds in whistleblowing claim following complaint about offensive “banter”
04 June 2020 #Other
The Claimant in Robinson v Mind Monmouthshire Ltd made a complaint after a colleague performed an offensive impression of a physically disabled person.
Following this, the Claimant was isolated by her colleagues who continued engaging in offensive workplace ‘banter’ and she suffered a period of mental ill health.
At a subsequent capability meeting, the Claimant’s manager did not act on OH’s recommendation that the Claimant should not return to the same working environment and advised her to raise a grievance. Her grievances however were not upheld and she resigned.
The Tribunal unanimously found the Claimant had been automatically unfairly dismissed for making a protected disclosure. It held her disclosure regarding a failure to comply with a legal obligation (relating to equality law in the workplace) was inextricably linked to the treatment she then suffered.
The ET further held the Claimant had been victimised following her complaint as the Respondent had failed to address the incident, had applied a culture of isolation, and had failed to make reasonable adjustments by not acting on OH’s recommendations.
The case reminds employers of the dangers of workplace “banter” and highlights the importance of fully investigating any related complaints and ensuring that individuals are not subjected to any detrimental treatment for making protected disclosures.
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