Nobody should Suffer Discrimination or Harassment, Employees can Fight Back and Win against Corporate Giants

Employees that work for large national and international companies who find themselves on the receiving end of poor or discriminatory treatment often feel that they are powerless to fight back in the face of a conglomerate that has a sizeable HR department and also has very deep pockets to fund a legal case.  They may be given misinformation about the situation they find themselves in and think that they have no grounds for complaint and give up.  Frequently HR department’s oversee violations of employees privacy in an attempt to discover information that they can use against the complainant. 

The intrusive access of personal data was a major part of a discrimination matter where Giambrone’s employment team assisted a client in an extremely complex employment matter against a major organisation relating to disability and sexual orientation discrimination which contravened the Equality Act 2012, together with an attempt to suppress whistleblowing and other questionable actions including seriously breaching our client’s privacy.  The international corporation’s HR department’s heavy-handed initial approach included actions that exposed Giambrone’s client as a wrong-doer to his colleagues, which proved to be incorrect, without having taken any steps whatsoever to establish the facts of the matter.  Our client faced a considerable battle; happily, Giambrone’s employment team was able to achieve a six-figure settlement for the inappropriate and illegal actions of the HR department proving that an individual can succeed against a global behemoth.

In another case where an HR department is coming under fire for the shoddy way an individual has been treated when dealing with the most upsetting of situations.  A former graduate trainee of UBS, the Swiss investment bank, has taken her former employer to court for the way she was treated following her report of an alleged rape carried out by her colleague who was described as “20 years older than her with influence and control over her career”.  The UBS HR department is alleged to have monitored her social media accounts and coerced her friends into disclosing hundreds of her personal messages.  The distress to the trainee was considerably compounded by having to sit just three rows away from her alleged rapist for several weeks after she reported the assault. UBS commented that they were satisfied that they had made no fundamental errors.  

A survey carried out by ComRes for BBC 5 Live found that 20 per cent of men (one in five) have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace mainly from their peers; more than half of women, 53 per cent said that they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace mainly from their boss or senior management.  The harassment largely took the form of being touched inappropriately.  Women are now more likely than men to report such activity but women are also more likely to leave their job than men as a result of the harassment.

HR professionals must re-consider the frequently seen default position of protecting the senior executives and brushing off complaints.  Ray Kelvin, the CEO and founder of Ted Baker, was continually shielded by the HR department who simply told employees who complained about his forced hugging that “It’s just Ray” until they were forced to face the situation when 60 per cent of the workforce complained on employee campaigning platform Organise.  Employees really can and should fight back against inappropriate behaviour; they should not have to tolerate being treated badly.  The Giambrone employment team has tenacity and determination and is not afraid to challenge some of the largest corporations with considerable success.

For further information about how the Giambrone employment team can assist you please click here.