A recruitment consultant who alleged her manger bullied her into attending a
strip club with clients has failed to prove constructive dismissal before an
employment tribunal in South London.
Rachel Kelly, 38, of Isleworth, Middlesex, sued former employer IDPP
Consulting and her line manager, Danny Whelan, for sexual harassment, victimisation, and constructive dismissal, and claimed £175,000 compensation.
Ms. Kelly claimed she shared a private lap-dance with Mr. Whelan “under great
duress.” The tribunal was unsympathetic, however, and ruled there was no management bullying and Ms. Kelly was a
“willing participant.” “She was not compelled to go to the club and could have
refused to attend,” it said.
Witnesses described how Ms. Kelly tried to perform a drunken pole dance at
the club. They also alleged she laughed throughout the lap-dance with Mr.
Whelan and “held court” at work the next day to describe her drunken antics.
One witness recalled how she “proclaimed to anyone who would listen all of the
details and she had thought it very amusing.”
In announcing its verdict, the tribunal said:
“We have come to the conclusion that this was an occasion fuelled by
excessive alcohol. Ms. Kelly decided to attend the lap-dancing club with full
knowledge of the nature of the establishment.
“We consider that Ms. Kelly’s demeanour and conduct at work on the morning
after the visit to the club sheds an illuminating light on her likely attitude
to the events the night before … and we accept IDPP’s witnesses’ evidence of Ms.
Ms. Kelly joined IDPP in January 2007. She alleged she had no choice
but to resign in October last year after meeting with the company’s chairman John Holmes
who warned her she “could be dumped.”
In reaching its decision, the tribunal chose to accept Mr. Holmes’s version of events, however, that he had reassured Ms. Kelly she was a “valued employee” and tried to persuade her to
How to prove constructive dismissal
To prove constructive dismissal, you must show that your
employer committed a serious breach of contract, you did not accept
the breach, and you resigned because of the breach. Examples of
serious breaches of contract in this context include the following:
- Unilaterally cutting your pay;
- Arbitrarily demoting you to a lesser role;
- Changing your job duties, working hours or place of work without your
- Making it impossible for you to do your job effectively;
- Failing to give you reasonable support to carry out your job without
disruption, harassment or bullying from co-workers; &
- Forcing you to work in conditions where health and safety regulations are
Constructive dismissal cases are hard to win, however,
so you should always seek advice before quitting your job. Factors such as your
employment status, the terms of your employment contract, length of service, and
reasons for leaving all require consideration.
** Additional Information & Advice **
Depending on the circumstances of your case, however, it may be better to
speak with a solicitor who specialises in employment law. You can be matched with an employment law solicitor in your area for free
via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best
course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a
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