sexual harassment

Harassment at work: Proposal at interview costs lawyer £20,000

We’re all well aware that there are certain questions that we should never ask a candidate during an interview, but when a Lawyer at a Bolton based made a proposal of marriage to a candidate it was the start of a strong case for harassment at work.

The interview process was just the beginning of the harassment at work the female candidate faced, as when she accepted the role she was subjected to further unwanted attention by her boss including a lewd suggestion that he would have a bed placed in his office.

As the new employee continually rejected the advances of the Lawyer and disclosed that she was already in a relationship, the behaviour of the individual took a turn for the worse which ultimately led to the candidate being made redundant.

Following these events, the Employment Appeals Tribunal ordered the Lawyer to pay the candidate £14,000 for injury to feelings, aggravated damages of £4,000 and loss of earnings of £2,111, plus interest. An appeal by the defendant was dismissed.

The presiding Judge, Justice Kerr, discussed the vulnerability of candidates during the interview process and commented that;

“From the first meeting in the job interview he treated her in a demeaning and disrespectful manner, as a woman evidently to be present in the office for his pleasure and gratification, rather than to work and develop her skills as a lawyer.”

This case highlights the dangers that candidates can face during the hiring process and that jobseekers need to be aware of what is and isn’t acceptable when they meet with the employer and serves as a warning for all businesses to educate their staff on illegal interview questions and harassment laws.

Our ‘Illegal Interview Processes’ eBook is an excellent resource to help employers keep on the right side of the law when undertaking the interview process. Click here to download your free copy.

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Emma Bonfiglio

About the author, Emma Bonfiglio

Managing Director at Appointments, Emma has spent 15 years building up a stellar reputation for commercial recruitment excellence across a variety of industries and sectors. There’s no staffing challenge Emma hasn’t encountered and her insight into the recruitment landscape has assisted countless clients achieve their goals over the years.


Specialising in the legislative and procedural side of business operations and through her extensive knowledge and continual training, Emma has a wealth of legal and contractual recruitment knowledge to help advise and support organisations of any size and in any industry.