We win harassment claim for man who was sent an inappropriate email by his gym
As a previous client of ours, Mr B contacted us about making an harassment claim when he suffered a shocking and upsetting incident at his local gym. When showering after working out he was approached by an employee of the gym who struck up a conversation with him. Although he was polite and spoke to this man, Mr B was extremely uncomfortable as he felt the man was looking at his body while he was in the shower.
A few days later, Mr B received an email from this member of staff. The email confirmed the employee had been wanting to contact Mr B following their conversation and had been searching for him on social media. His email was extremely explicit and contained inappropriate sexual language. Mr B found this very distressing, both due to the content of the email and because the staff member had clearly accessed his personal information held by the gym in order to contact him.
The matter was reported to the Police. Abuse lawyer Rachel Thain then pursued a No Win, No Fee harassment claim against the council responsible for running the gym, on the basis they were responsible for the inappropriate behaviour of their employee. Rachel argued the actions of this member of staff constituted a breach of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Allegations were also made regarding the act of accessing Mr B’s personal data for his own inappropriate use, on the basis it was a breach of the Data Protection Act.
An investigation was carried out by the council regarding the actions of their employee. However, Mr B was disappointed that he was not provided with updates from the local authority regarding the outcome of their investigation. The council subsequently appointed solicitors to deal with the harassment claim on their behalf.
Following negotiations with the council’s solicitors, Rachel was able to negotiate a settlement on Mr B’s behalf. He was awarded compensation of £15,000, including his legal costs.
This successful harassment claim shows how an employee’s inappropriate behaviour can cause significant distress and upset. Unfortunately, it is often the case that individuals facing an harassment claim may not have the means to pay an award of compensation or be insured for such a claim. However, where the harassment takes place in the course of someone’s employment, the employer can be held accountable for the actions of their employee and it is much more likely it will be to recover compensation for an harassment claim in those circumstances.