Insights & advice

PA unfairly dismissed after affair with her boss was discovered

A personal assistant who was sacked after her affair with her boss was discovered has won her claim of unfair dismissal.

The PA lost her job after the affair was discovered by the boss’s wife.

The PA, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been in a relationship with her boss who was chief executive of the company. During the relationship he had moved her into a flat in London’s fashionable Belsize Park, bought her a car and taken her on expensive holidays to Australia, Cuba and Mexico.

He tried to dismiss her when his wife received an anonymous letter revealing the affair.

The PA told the court: “He said that his wife was putting pressure on him to sever all ties with me and didn’t know why I was still working there if the relationship had finished.”

The PA refused to leave but the situation worsened. The chief executive’s children stopped talking to him because of the affair and he became more hostile to his PA. He offered her a £50,000 tax free redundancy package but she refused.

Two months later he sacked her in an angry phone call. She was evicted from her flat in Belsize Park and became depressed. Her depression was disabling and she was unable to look for work.

The PA brought an action against the company for unfair dismissal, harassment and sex discrimination. During the trial, details emerged of a culture of sexism that existed at the company.

The judge said that the culture of sexism didn’t in itself amount to harassment but did show that the company had a “complete disregard for modern employment law”.

The PA was awarded £34,195 to cover her loss of earnings and future loss of earnings, unfair dismissal and harassment.

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Just a short note to once again express my sincere thanks to you, Sue and the M&U team, for all your help, cooperation and first class professional support. I am most grateful to you all.

Chris Stephenson, Warminster

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