Case Update: The Fact That Claimants Had Put Up With Harassment Did Not Mean That It Was Not 'Unwanted'

Munchkins Restaurant Ltd and another v Karmazyn and others – Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)

The Case

The four claimant waitresses had between one and five years' service each. They alleged that for some years each had been subject to persistent unwanted sexual harassment by the manager of their restaurant. They had put up with this harassment only because an assistant manager, also female, had acted as a "buffer" between them and the restaurant owner. This had made their jobs bearable for them.

However, the assistant manager became ill and left work. Within three months of this happening the four waitresses had all resigned in response to the harassment.

They brought claims of sex discrimination, harassment and constructive dismissal before the Employment Tribunal. The employees alleged that (i) their manager had constantly made comments of a sexual nature to them and had tried to engage them in discussions about sexual matters; (ii) that they were made to wear skirts which were too short; and (iii) that there had been books about sex, sexually explicit photographs and catalogues of sex toys and gadgets lying around the restaurant which their manager had showed them and asked them questions about.

Each claimant said that she had resigned in part or in consequence of the manager's behaviour. The Tribunal found the Respondents liable for discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal. The Respondents appealed on the basis that the Tribunal's decision was insufficiently reasoned and therefore perverse.

The Decision

The EAT upheld the Tribunal's findings on liability, holding that there could have been no doubt...

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