Woman awarded £832,000 in sexual harassment case

A woman has been awarded £832,000 in a sexual harassment and sex discrimination case involving an NHS trust.

Helen Marks was the Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Derbyshire NHS Trust and earned just under £100,000 a year.

The Employment Tribunal heard evidence that while she was working there she was approached by the Chair of the Trust, Mr Alan Baines, to have a sexual relationship with him. She said that when she declined his advances, he called her a whore and proceeded to bully and sexually harass her.

He then fabricated a disciplinary case against her. The tribunal heard that the Trust’s Chief Executive at the time, Professor Steve Trenchard, colluded with Mr Baines, to dismiss Mrs Marks. She eventually resigned because of the way she was being treated.

The tribunal hearing last year found that she been harassed by Mr Baines in an attempt to “violate her dignity and create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and offensive environment for her”.

Judge Hutchinson said: “There was not a shred of evidence to suggest that at any stage she had indicated that she would be willing to enter into a sexual relationship with him (Mr Baines).”

“We are satisfied that Professor Trenchard and Mr Baines colluded in an attempt to dismiss her or alternatively obtain her resignation.”

The Employment Tribunal has now awarded Mrs Marks a total of £832,711 for injury to feelings, aggravated damages, personal injury and loss of earnings.

Mr Baines and Prof Trenchard have since left the Trust.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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