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No sex-based harassment, but sexual harassment did occur

No sex-based harassment, but sexual harassment did occur

In Snelgrove v Menzone Barbers Ltd, a tribunal found that practical jokes which created an intimidating environment for the claimant did not constitute sex-based harassment as both sexes were treated in the same way, but other acts amounted to harassment as they involved remarks and photos of a sexual nature.

 

Ms Snelgrove’s manager, Mr Smales, had a habit of playing “practical jokes” on her, including squirting water at her and locking her out at the back door so that she had to go round to the front of the premises to get back in.

 

Ms Snelgorve also alleged that Mr Smales began to make suggestive remarks to her, including sexual innuendos, and showed her a photo on his mobile phone of his penis. She did not complain at the time, but her mother contacted the owner of the business who told Ms Snelgrove to stay at home for the day but if she wished to take the matter further she must give a detailed written account of the allegations together with any evidence upon her return. Ms Snelgrove did not return to work the next day and was dismissed. She presented claims for sex-based and sexual harassment, together with victimisation, to a tribunal.

 

The tribunal found that although the practical jokes amounted to unwanted conduct, and caused an offensive environment, male colleagues were treated in exactly the same way and therefore did not constitute sex-based harassment, i.e. the conduct was not aimed at one particular sex. However, the sexual innuendo and the phone photo was harassment of a sexual nature and was unlawful. Ms Snelgove had also been victimised because she was dismissed as a direct result of making allegations of harassment and discrimination.

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For more information about the equality and diversity services the Employment Law Group can offer, please contact

Makbool Javaid
Partner
Head of Employment Law
Tel:  020 3206 2745
Mob: 07817 805315
makbool.javaid@smab.co.uk

Ewan Keen
Partner
Tel: 020 3206 2724
Mob: 07870 942622
ewan.keen@smab.co.uk

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