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Employment Law Case Update: Nixon v Royal Mail Group Limited
- AuthorEmployment Team
Having managers who are fully aware of the risks of discrimination, bullying and harassment is a vital step for any employer to avoid potential Tribunal claims. This was proven in the recent case of Nixon v Royal Mail Group Limited; our Employment team review the case here and advise how employers can take steps to prevent being in the same situation themselves.
Ms Nixon was employed as a driver at a Royal Mail distribution centre when an incident took place during an overnight shift in March 2017. Ms Nixon claimed a co-worker, Mr Mistry, had told her she should be “back at home and in the kitchen”. He also pulled - and attempted further to pull - Ms Nixon’s hair, called her ‘arsey’ and accused her of avoiding her duties.
Ms Nixon made a formal complaint about Mr Mistry’s behaviour and he was immediately removed from all managerial duties in relation to Ms Nixon. The complaint regarding the behaviour caused Royal Mail to offer additional training on bullying and harassment.
She brought claims of sex discrimination and harassment. The Employment Tribunal (ET) found that the kitchen comment related to Ms Nixon’s gender and was therefore harassment and sex discrimination.
Employment Judge Gaskell found “this particular effort at creating discomfort or humiliation was clearly related to gender and is an act of harassment for which the claimant is entitled to a remedy.”
Ms Nixon was awarded £2,600 in compensation for injury to feelings.
Royal Mail had attempted to take some positive steps following the complaint by removing Mr Mistry from line management duties and by ensuring all staff received training on bullying and harassment. Ms Nixon was also asked for her input on the briefing that was given to staff.
This serves as a useful reminder that it is important for regular training to take place to prevent instances of discrimination arising. Once the incident has occurred it will often be too late for the business to avoid liability in the ET.
This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice. All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.