Wolseley employee gets £9,000 damages after ‘sexist abuse’

A secretary at plumbers merchant chain Plumb Center was awarded £9,000 in damages after she was subjected to systematic and continuous’ sexist abuse for being the only female employee at the branch.

Sarah Crosbie was employed as an administrator but an industrial tribunal heard that she was ordered to clean the building’s toilets and kitchens every day and was victimised by several male colleagues and her boss at the branch in Torquay, Devon.

She told the hearing in Exeter, Devon, that she was regularly called names by her co-workers, and by her male boss. The tribunal heard that the branch operated a ‘lads’ culture’ and that when she raised a grievance, Crosbie had been told to expect swearing in an all-male environment.

She worked at Plumb Center for two years until April 2007 when she quit. She had been the only employee chosen as a possible candidate for redundancy.

Crosbie was awarded £9,000 in damages for sexual discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal against Wolseley UK, the parent company of Plumb Center.

The firm claimed it treated her fairly and were in the middle of investigating her complaints when she resigned. But the tribunal panel criticised the firm’s lack of attention to her concerns.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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