The 28-year-old woman worked for a year as a customer assistant for the Co-op Group Ltd. She claimed that during this time her store manager often shouted at her and was verbally abusive towards her. On one occasion when she was not at work, the manager phoned her and shouted at her for leaving stock all over the shop floor.
On another occasion, the assistant was abused and threatened by a customer. Instead of supporting her, the manager belittled the incident and criticised her for complaining about it. The manager often criticised and undermined her, and told her that she “was hated by members of staff”.
The assistant brought an action against her employers complaining that the manager’s behaviour amounted to harassment which had caused psychiatric injury and had led her to attempt suicide. She had fully recovered within a year of leaving her employment.
The manager denied being verbally abusive and alleged that the assistant was not good at her job. The employer agreed that the manager had an “old school management style” but denied that it amounted to harassment within the meaning of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
The court found in favour of the assistant and awarded her compensation of £13,565.
Please contact Jenny McKellar in our Westbury office on 01373 865577 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.