Employment equality-sexual harassment-vicarious liability HEADNOTES Facts The claimant had been subjected for some six weeks to physical and verbal har- assment by two fellow male employees. She threatened to report them if they did not desist. They ignored her complaints and on 18 November 1989 she suffered a vio- lent sexual assault at their hands. Her trade union claimed compensation for her on the grounds that the assault amounted to discrimination by her employer contrary to the Employment Equality Act 1977 (the 1977 Act). An Equality Officer was satis- fied that the claimant's treatment constituted less favourable treatment because of her sex and recommended that she be paid £7,000 in compensation. The employer appealed to the Labour Court who determined the appeal in the claimant's favour but reduced the compensation to £3,500. The employer appealed on a point of law to the High Court. Decision The appeal was allowed and the award of compensation was discharged. The conduct of the claimant's fellow employees was clearly sexual harassment which was discrimination within the meaning of the 1977 Act. Acts of discrimination, how- ever, were only prohibited where committed by employers and, since her fellow employees were not acting within
International Labour Law Reports Online – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1993
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