Female driver awarded £74,000 after manager pursued relationship
A trainee highway inspector has won her case of constructive unfair dismissal after her manager moved her to his site so that he could pursue a romantic relationship with her.
Kim Beaney began working as a driver and a trainee highway inspector for Highways England in April 2017.
The interviewer who gave her the job was Mr Grant Bosence. He immediately began sending Beaney unsolicited text messages, something which was not normal behaviour towards new employees.
Although Beaney had been allocated to the Leicester Forest East site, Bosence re-assigned her to the Sandiacre depot so that she would work closely with a friend of his, Steven Curtis.
In the weeks that followed, Curtis would ask Beaney personal questions and talked up the possibility of her entering into a romantic relationship with Bosence, telling her she “could do worse”.
Beaney told Curtis that Bosence had taken her phone number and sent her messages, and that he could get into trouble for his conduct.
During an induction Beaney discovered that she was originally allocated to work at another site, and that she had not been given the same company tools as other new employees, such as a key fob and ID badge.
She raised her concerns with Bosence, who told her to speak to Curtis. She asked to be moved to work under another manager or sent to work at the other depot but both requests were refused by Bosence.
Beaney filed a formal complaint against both Bosence and Curtis for harassment and bullying and spent several weeks off sick with stress.
The case was investigated by a Highways England officer who accepted some of Beaney’s grievances but chose not to transfer her to the other site, and took a lenient approach in disciplining Bosence and Curtis.
Beaney never returned to work after hearing the result of the investigation. She resigned from her role and took legal action.
The Employment Tribunal ruled in her favour. In her summary Judge Elizabeth Heap said Bosence’s motivation “was not to assign Beaney the most appropriate supervisor and depot because he was sexually attracted to her.”
Highways England, Bosence and Curtis were ordered to jointly pay Beaney £73,619, consisting of financial losses, injury to feelings and damages as well as interest.
Please contact David Rushmere if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.