ERA rewards woman with $ 24,000 after another security guard sexually harassed her and harassed her on Facebook


The safety officer expected a proper investigation and a report into the workplace sexual harassment complaint. Photo / Thinkstock

A security guard received $ 24,000 in compensation after claiming that a coworker sexually harassed her.

The woman said the man physically tied her up, harassed her on social media and told her he would follow her home and watch her sleep.

The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) upheld the woman’s personal grievance over unjustifiable action, agreeing that her employer had not fully addressed her sexual harassment complaint.

The ERA deleted the names of the woman, the male security guard and the workplace to protect the woman.

The woman started working for the security company on January 11, 2019 and for the first five weeks of her job she worked at the same bar in central Christchurch.

The sexual harassment began in February 2019, the woman said, and was verbal, consisting of unwanted and unacceptable sexual comments.

She tried to ignore the harassment and avoid the coworker, but the harassment only got worse, she said.

It intensified to the point where she was so anxious about the man that she started having panic attacks and was increasingly worried about what he might do.

The ERA found that the man was “brash in his behavior and unrepentant, he did not stop the behavior when asked.” It was discovered that he had harassed the woman on social media and told her he was doing this.

He said he would follow her home and watch her sleep, and there had been an incident at work where the man had physically tied her up against his will.

After hiding in her car one night to avoid the man, the woman approached another colleague, who encouraged her to go to their foreman.

The team leader immediately changed the woman’s shifts so that she no longer worked with the man. The owner of the business has also been notified.

The owner texted the woman asking to meet so he could find out what was going on.

She responded by saying that she was afraid to say anything at first because she didn’t know how it would be “handled”.

She said she was sexually harassed and “got to the point where I’m scared and uncomfortable being with him”.

“He just arrived at [the bar] and I had the worst [sic] anxiety and I had to go in my
car until it’s gone.

The owner assured that the woman would be protected at work.

The couple met in early April 2019 and the owner said he was meeting with the company’s lawyer to discuss what to do next.

The coworker was told not to go to the bar when the woman was working and she was not registered with him.

On April 23, 2019, the woman messaged the owner to tell him that the coworker had trawled his Facebook account.

She told the owner she was worried about it and said: “I really don’t understand what’s going on in his head it’s like he’s trying to intimidate me or something… I don’t know really more what to do. “

In response, the owner said he told the coworker to leave the woman alone and that her behavior could be considered serious misconduct.

From April to July there were various meetings and messages and the owner of the business told the woman he would investigate and report back to her.

He said he would talk to the lawyer about the next steps and asked the woman what his expectations were.

She reiterated that she felt intimidated and said, “I don’t think he should be working in this industry in the type of workplace that he is because of harassment. It’s not something that should be taken lightly due to his scale and his self-confidence. was doing … “

The owner requested a schedule of evidence so he could move on to the next level and the woman provided a document describing the harassment.

At one point in April, the woman had no news from the owner and decided to go to the police to record the events.

She told the owner she was doing this and he asked for all documents, presumably any police report, so he could add it to his investigation.

A month later, the woman received a message from another company official stating that the matter was still under investigation and that “you have to let us deal with it.
with that”.

The manager continued, “Personal issues don’t come at work and affect a work environment because then it gets ugly.

“Just don’t let this kind of issue interfere with our business operations, please we’ve worked too hard to build a professional reputation that I earn when it gets damaged.”

On May 10, the police called the woman to tell her that her complaint was a work issue and should be dealt with at work.

The call triggered a panic attack and the woman called her father. Her father called the business owner and complained about the lack of action and support.

This prompted the owner to apologize to the woman. He also said the harassment did not happen at work, so it was “a police problem now”.

He offered to go to the police station with the woman but never confirmed the time.

The woman’s father then contacted the owner again and told him nothing had been done.

The father had heard that the co-worker accused of sexual harassment had told others at work that it was all made up.

The father asked, “What are your steps to solve this problem or have you lied to me and swept it under the carpet…”

ERA found that despite the meetings and messages, the company had not completed the sexual harassment investigation.

The woman had trusted the owner to resolve the complaint. She had not received a report and no results were reported to her.

The ERA concluded that the woman’s personal grievance complaint was not that the company failed to protect her, but that it failed to deal with the sexual harassment complaint appropriately.

He revealed that the woman was at a disadvantage at work because she felt unsafe.

The owner told ERA he believed the matter had been settled because the security guard had stopped contacting the woman.

ERA did not accept this and said it was clear that there was a need for a formal investigation and response.

“By not investigating and disciplining… (the business owner) tolerated (man’s) behavior and minimized what happened and the impact on ( woman) and ignored the risk of further harassment. “

The woman received compensation of $ 24,000 for humiliation, loss of dignity and injury to feelings.


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