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Driver for Highways England wins £74K for being harassed before job even began

An employment tribunal awarded an ex-Highways England driver an amount of £74,000 because she was harassed before her job even started.

Ms Beaney told the tribunal that she was subjected to humiliating conduct and sexual advances and was harassed by her manager.

After rebuffing numerous sexual advances from her line manager, Ms Beaney was transferred to another department where her line manager’s friend could supervise her.

Ms Beaney attended an interview with Highways England line manager Grant Bosence who informed her that should she be offered the job she would get the placement. Mr Bosence contacted her using the telephone number that was on her application form. 

After the interview the claimant stated that she received numerous messages via text and on Facebook regarding Mr Bosence’s attraction to her. He refereed to her as being ‘beautiful’ and a ‘pretty one.’ He admitted at one point that he fancied her.

The tribunal learned that Ms Beaney continued to respond to the messages because she feared the job would be taken away if she did not. Ms Beaney told Mr Bosence that she did not want a relationship with him, she simply wanted to remain friends. Mr Bosence paid no attention to these comments and continued to harass her.

Before commencing in employment with Highways England Ms Beaney was invited to the office for a meeting. Mr Bosence suggested coffee after the meeting at a nearby hotel, to which she agreed as she feared the offer would be withdrawn if she refused.

It was at this coffee meeting that Mr Bosence told Ms Beaney that he found her attractive and wanted to have a relationship with her. She also claimed that on several occasions Mr Bosence tried to kiss her.

Mr Bosence – even before her job had started – invited Ms Beaney to his house for dinner where he attempted to kiss and cuddle her. Ms Beaney told the tribunal that she rebuffed these advances and tried to leave. She found that the doors were locked. Later in the evening Mr Bosence opened the doors for her.

Ms Beaney stated that she felt pressured into seeing Mr Bosence several times before starting her job with Highways England. The tribunal found that Mr Bosence had attempted to put pressure on her and frighten her so that she went along with what he wanted namely to have a relationship with him.

When the job finally came through Ms Beaney found that she was placed at the Sandiacre site instead of the Leicester Forest East Depot, where she had expected to start.

The tribunal agreed that the reason for the change was that Mr Bosence could keep an eye on her because her supervisor was Mr Bosence’s close friend.

It was during her induction that Ms Beaney found out that she had been expected at the Leicester Forest East depot. When she had not arrived, the inspectors there had been very unhappy about it.

Ms Beaney raised the question with Mr Bosence and asked for a transfer to the Leicester branch. She also requested a transfer to another inspector and worked there until she was signed off sick. Ms Beany suffered with stress and was signed off work on May 2nd 2017. She has never worked there again.

The tribunal found that Ms Beaney had been directly discriminated against. She had been constructively and unfairly dismissed. She was awarded almost £74,000 in compensation.

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