The treatment Frankie was subjected to fits into the above description of harassment. During the party, her dignity was violated, and an intimidating, offensive and hostile environment was created. We know it was intimidating and uncomfortable because it was stated in the case study that Frankie left as quickly as she could. Because of this Frankie would have a good chance of claiming if she took things to an Employment Tribunal. Another issue that occurs with the situation is the issue of vicarious liability.
Vicarious liability is when one party is held legally responsible for the actions of another. In this case it is when the employer is liable for the acts of his employees. This issue arises under the common law doctrine of agency. Referring to the case study, it is stated that the staff were involved in the party and specifically the bar manager; the bar manager being the individual that sent text messages of a sexual nature and overtly made offensive remarks.
The landlord (Frankie’s employer) is therefore responsible for the actions of the bar manager as he is one of the staff under him. Advice to Frankie would be to take this case to the tribunal as she would have a chance of claiming because failure to deal with complaints relating to other staff is seen as a serious breach of mutual trust and confidence. The employer could avoid liability if he can prove and establish the fact that steps were taken to prevent the other staff and his friends from carrying out discriminatory actions.
Maybe within the workforce there are codes of practice – equal opportunities policies. If there are and the employer can prove that they wee followed Frankie may find it problematic to claim in the tribunal. Advice for Frankie would be to push the situation to the tribunal as she could build quite a strong case for herself. The fact that the incident happened after working hours does not work against her. The course of the employment contract includes work related social activities.
Due to the fact that the party she attended was work related Frankie still has a strong case to present to the tribunal. Frankie’s case also highlights a breach of confidentiality in the sense that her employer (the landlord) had discussed personal issues about her with the manager. This can only be proven if it can be proved that what the bar manager said, about her only being employed because she wore mini skirt, is true.
An employee should have the confidence in his/her employer that personal issues will not be discussed behind their backs. This confidence and trust was not evident in Frankie’s case The employment tribunal takes discrimination during the recruitment stages of a job very seriously. The main sensitive areas are sex, age, disability and race. If every candidate which applied for the job has genuine occupational qualifications and the decision to employ was based on race, sex, or other criteria then this is a breach of law.
If it can be proved that the only reason Frankie was employed was because she wore mini skirts and had “great assets” (as the bar manager claimed) then she would have a strong case against her employer. Although the decision to employ her was in her favour, the reasons behind it (if true) are not appropriate. If the employer’s reasons for employing her do not coincide with fair employment laws then the employer would be guilty not just of discrimination towards Frankie but of discrimination against other candidates who may have applied for the same job.
In conclusion advice to Frankie would be to present her case to the tribunal as she has solid evidence in the form of the offensive text messages of a sexual nature sent to her phone by the bar manager. Her unfair treatment would not be taken lightly by the tribunal as it was with her employer and there is a strong possibility that disciplinary actions would be taken against her employer and she could make a claim. Overall the possibility of Frankie making a claim at the Employment Tribunal is a strong one.