Hitchins [c] v Babbé LLP [r] (Guernsey)

[dt_sc_pullquote type=”pullquote5″ align=”left” icon=”yes”]Held in favour of Claimant[/dt_sc_pullquote]

 

 

 

What was it about?

Constructive unfair dismissal and sex discrimination

 

What was the outcome?

The claim for constructive unfair dismissal was successful and Mrs Hitchins was awarded £76,068.

The claim for sex discrimination was successful and Mrs Hitchins was awarded £38,038.

 

What were the facts?

Mrs Hitchins worked in Babbé’s corporate department. During the course of her employment, an investigation in relation to allegations of sexual assault against Mrs Hitchens was undertaken. Following that investigation, it was found that the allegations were unfounded.

However, there were serious issues with the investigation itself. For example, Mrs Hitchins was not kept in the loop regarding the allegations, and it seemed that the former colleague (who had made the allegation) was wanting to keep HR out of the picture. As a result of these (and other) failings and the resultant impact, Mrs Hitchins was off work with anxiety and depression. To make matters worse, the outcome of the investigation was not shared with Mrs Hitchins until 5 days after being shared with the complainant.

The Guernsey Tribunal did not look favourably upon Babbé’s actions and described Babbé’s “dereliction of responsibility in their duty of care towards [Mrs Hitchins]” as the key factor that caused her eventual resignation.

In relation to the sex discrimination claim, it was admitted by Babbé that individual partners would determine salary increases for their own departments. When Mrs Hitchins was promoted to ‘Head of Corporate’ she did not receive a salary increase even though there was a significant increase in responsibility in her new role. The Tribunal looked at the pay difference with another Head of Department and found that there was a 57% difference in the pay.

The situation was further compounded when it was revealed that Mrs Hitchins had not received a pay increase in 2018 due to discussing the terms of her contract with others contrary to her contractual obligations. However, it was revealed that other colleagues had done the same and yet had still received salary increases.

It was determined by the Tribunal that Mrs Hitchins was on a different pay regime to her male colleagues and the claim of sex discrimination was upheld accordingly.

Find out more about this case.

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