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Employer's defence tightly construed in harassment cases

This report relates to 4 case(s)

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    Dias v Avon County Council [1995] IT/9660/94 (0 other reports)

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    Earlam v (1) VMB Ltd and (2) Andrews [1994] IT/19199/94 (0 other reports)

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    Hurtley v (1) Halfords Ltd and (2) Leach [1994] IT/13556/94 (0 other reports)

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    Wilson v J Sainsbury plc [1995] IT/7957/94 (0 other reports)

Recent industrial tribunal decisions suggest that employers are finding it difficult to show that they took "such steps as were reasonably practicable" to prevent their employee from committing a discriminatory act of sexual or racial harassment.

In the Earlam v (1) VMB Ltd and (2) Andrews1 case, a Birmingham industrial tribunal (Chair: A C Tickle) found that a machine operator was discriminated against on grounds of sex by the second respondent, a setter, in that: "His behaviour at times was quite obviously sexually offensive to a woman - particularly his dropping of his trousers, his question 'Fancy a fuck?', his grabbing her round the waist" and other incidents.