Trainee Awarded £360,000 in Sexual Harassment Case Against Manager

Trainee Awarded £360,000 in Sexual Harassment Case Against Manager

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A trainee working at the National Grid has been granted a substantial compensation of almost £360,000 after prevailing in a case of sexual harassment involving her manager.

Colin Higgins, a manager in his fifties, was found to have engaged in persistent and inappropriate behavior towards Emma Tahir, a trainee project supervisor in her mid-twenties.

Repetitive Harassment Allegations

The case centered around Higgins repeatedly asking Tahir to remove her jumper and making unwelcome advances towards her.

In addition to this, he physically invaded her personal space and even proposed marriage.

Tahir revealed in an employment tribunal in Hull that Higgins, who also acted as her mentor, inundated her with text messages and emails of an inappropriate nature.

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He went as far as labeling her as his ‘favourite’ and expressing his romantic interest, even penning an email containing the words ‘marry me!’. When she didn’t respond, he asked her to repeat the statement.

Higgins didn’t stop there, as he inquired whether there would have been a romantic involvement between them had he been younger.

Despite an internal investigation into his behavior, Higgins managed to retain his position at the company.

However, in 2021, Tahir chose to resign and subsequently sued the National Grid for a variety of claims, including sexual harassment, victimization, and constructive wrongful dismissal.

Impact on Career Path and Compensation

Tahir asserted that her experience with her manager had detrimental effects on her career trajectory.

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The tribunal ruled in her favor and awarded her a total of £357,000 in compensation.

This substantial sum was inclusive of £40,000 for emotional distress and an additional £10,000 for psychiatric harm.

Initially, Tahir, who holds a law degree from Leeds University, joined the National Grid’s construction development program with an annual salary of £30,000.

Company Response and Ongoing Measures

The National Grid, which reported a revenue stream of £18.26 billion the previous year and employs nearly 30,000 individuals, was created in 1925 to connect the UK’s most efficient power stations with consumers via a ‘national gridiron’.

A representative from the National Grid expressed deep regret over the incident, acknowledging that it should never have transpired, and offered an unreserved apology.

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In light of the events, the company has taken significant steps, including comprehensive training initiatives, to ensure that employees feel comfortable reporting any form of discomfort or insecurity.

The spokesperson emphasized the company’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of behavior at all times.

Furthermore, the National Grid is undertaking a comprehensive review of its processes in response to this case, with the primary aim of preventing such incidents from occurring in the future.

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