The recent award of £828,000 in damages for a City secretary who endured a long-running campaign of bullying and harassment at the hands of her workmates has sounded a warning bell for employers who allow such behaviour to go on in the workplace.
36-year-old Helen Green was driven to the point of a mental breakdown by her fellow-workers at Deutsche Bank. She sued the bank for her psychological injury as well as loss of earnings after she suffered a breakdown in 2000, followed by a relapse in 2001, after which she was unable to return to her job. Mr Justice Owen commented that Ms Green, who had earned £45,000 per year ‘was subjected to a relentless campaign of mean and spiteful behaviour’, which was tolerated by the bank’s ‘weak and ineffectual management’.
This is the latest in a series of ‘big money’ settlements resulting from employees being mistreated by their workmates.
The judgment should serve as a further warning to employers that failure to control bullying and harassment of employees by other employees could prove very expensive indeed.