Sexual harassment: tribunal awards £830k to NHS HR director

An employment tribunal has awarded more than £830,000 to an NHS HR director who was constructively dismissed and harassed after she rejected sexual advances from the NHS trust’s chairman. Stephen Simpson rounds up tribunal decisions reported in the previous week.

NHS trust’s former HR director wins sexual harassment employment tribunal
A former HR director who brought successful unfair dismissal and sex discrimination claims in Marks v Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded more than £830,000 in compensation.

Senior HR professional Mrs Marks was in charge of the HR function at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

She was a friend of Mr Baines, the trust’s chairman. They regularly had lunch together and talked about personal as well as work issues.

Mr Baines told her that he “loved her” while they were at the pub for drinks, before she went on leave to get married.

They continued to be friendly for a period after she returned from leave. However, Mr Baines later indicated a sexual interest in Mrs Marks and the relationship soured.

Mr Baines’ behaviour became increasingly erratic. He accused her of having an affair with another colleague, left “love letters” on her desk, and sent her abusive text messages. In one of these he called 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.

The employment tribunal has awarded her £832,711 in compensation.

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