12th July 2016

If your employee claims they have been assaulted by a customer do you a) investigate those claims or b) sack them?  We’ll give you a clue, it’s not b!  Yet that’s what one employer in Manchester seems to have done.

An employment tribunal has awarded a nightclub waitress a five figure payout for unfair dismissal. The complainant claims that she was assaulted by a footballer and, when she told her employer, their response was to terminate her employment – she says in order to protect the footballer.  We do not know what the employers’ reasons where as they do not appear to have contested the claim.

ELAS Consultant Emma O’Leary says: “This case highlights the need for employers to ensure they take such an allegation seriously.  Unless you can demonstrate that it was completely fabricated or the employee was equally to blame, an employee claiming they have been assaulted by a client does not give grounds for dismissal.  As in this case the dismissal would be unfair and could also lead to muddier waters if the allegation strays into whistle blowing territory, which would further escalate any compensation.  We don’t know if this happened in this case because the details have not been disclosed.”

She continues: “The best advice is to investigate, get to the bottom of what happened and take action to protect your employee but don’t treat them badly simply because they raised it in the first place.  It’s not worth the £15k bill!”

For help and advice if representing your business at a tribunal, or to ensure it never gets that far, contact ELAS Business Support today on 0161 785 2000


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