How Martin Searle Solicitors helped a senior employee successfully defend allegations of sexual harassment.
Oliver, a Marketing Manager at an estate agent, contacted us after he had been suspended from work following a complaint of sexual harassment being made against him by a junior employee. In particular, he was accused of sending inappropriate text messages and emails of a sexual nature to the employee and of treating her unfavourably when his conduct was not reciprocated.
Oliver was invited to an investigation meeting and told that the outcome could result in disciplinary action for gross misconduct which would result in his immediate dismissal.
We took instructions from Oliver and requested a copy of the Investigatory Report. This made a number of findings against him, including sexual harassment.
On examining the report, we found that the employer’s investigation was not even handled. It was clear that the conclusions drawn were not backed up by the evidence provided.
Some examples include:
We requested that the disciplinary hearing was postponed until a fair and thorough investigation had been carried out.
The employer carried out further investigations and re-interviewed all witnesses. It also interviewed the witnesses that had not been interviewed before and re-interviewed the complainant.
We were then able to prepare a disciplinary defence statement for Oliver based on these investigation findings to use at his disciplinary hearing.
Oliver was issued with a final written warning which was to remain on his record for six months. He accepted that his conduct had been unprofessional but he was not found guilty of sexual harassment. Oliver was relieved not to have been dismissed and he gave assurances to his employer that he would not behave like this in the future.
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