British court punishes employer that let bullying go unchecked

U.K. court awards $1.7 million to woman who was bullied by co-workers
By Helen Gray
|Canadian Employment Law Today

The United Kingdom High Court has demonstrated that it will not condone bullying in the workplace. A U.K. employer was found liable on the basis of harassment legislation similar to that in place in most Canadian jurisdictions, as it was held to be reasonably foreseeable that sustained bullying could give rise to psychiatric illness. Employers in Canada should pay close attention to the ruling, because a similar scenario could result in a finding of liability by a Canadian court.

Bank employee suffered from depression

The claimant, Helen Green, was a company secretary in her mid-30s with Deutsche Bank. She earned more than £50,000 (about $105,000 Cdn). Green started working for the bank in October 1997 and, in November 2000, was admitted to hospital where she was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. In March 2001 she returned to work. In October 2001 she suffered a relapse of her psychiatric illness and had to leave work once again. She never returned.