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Chambers & Partners
13/07/1987

Balgobin v. Tower Hamlets London Borough Council

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Employment Appeal Tribunal

The appellants alleged that they were sexually harassed between June and October 1985 by another employee, Mr. C. In October they complained to the management who suspended Mr. C while an enquiry took place, but they were unable to establish the truth of the matter and therefore all three employees continued to work in the same area. The appellants brought an action of unlawful discrimination under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 s.6(2)(b) . The tribunal found that the appellants had been sexually harassed between June and October, but that no further harassment had taken place after October. However, the employers were not liable by virtue of s.41(3) because they had taken all reasonably practicable steps to prevent harassment once they had been made aware of the problem. The tribunal also found that the fact that the appellants were obliged to continue working with Mr. C after October did not amount to discrimination within the meaning of s.1(1)(a). The appellants appealed.

HELD: dismissing the appeal, that the tribunal had correctly held that the employers had established a defence under s.41(3) in taking all reasonably practicable steps to prevent harassment by proper staff supervision and making known their equal opportunities policy. It could not be held that there was no evidence to support the tribunal's finding or that such finding was perverse. Further, the tribunal had not erred in holding that the appellants had not been treated less favourably on the grounds of their sex by being required to continue working with Mr. C. The reason for this requirement was because the results of the enquiry were inconclusive, and not on account of the appellants' sex.

[1987] ICR 829

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