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Former employee wins sexual discrimination case against Reed


A former employee at recruitment agency Reed has won a sexual discrimination case against the firm.

A Manchester Employment Tribunal has ruled Reed and one of its regional directors, Heath Bartmanis, subjected a former employee to sexual discrimination.

The hearing at Alexandra House in Manchester on Wednesday found the comments and behaviour of Bartmanis towards former Reed Recruitment manager Jackie Hinchliffe (pictured) to be "entirely inappropriate."

Hinchliffe alleged Bartmanis deliberately discriminated against her when he found out she was pregnant and instead favoured a male colleague of Hinchliffe's, who, she claims, he was having sexual relations with.

In a statement to the press, Direct Law and Personnel, Hinchliffe's current employer, which represented her during the case said the tribunal heard evidence from witnesses that Bartmanis attended Hinchliffe's sons' christening and took the mentioned male employee along with him and "displayed a closeness suggestive of an intimate relationship".  

In its judgment the tribunal found the evidence of Bartmanis to be "not believable or credible" and that he was having relations with a male member of Hinchliffe's team; an accusation which has always been denied by Bartmanis and Reed.

But according to Direct Law and Personnel, Bartmanis had pursued a catalogue of behaviour which included inviting members of staff present at the company Christmas party to "act like a pack of wolves" to get her out of the company.

The tribunal also found Bartmanis' decision to initiate a disciplinary procedure based on income against Hinchliffe for missed targets when the same action was not taken against a male employee in the same position to be sexually discriminative.  

But it ruled Hinchliffe's claim of constructive unfair dismissal was unfounded.

A spokesman from Reed Specialist Recruitment told HR magazine: "We are pleased the complaint of constructive unfair dismissal was unfounded. But we are disappointed about the ruling.

"It does remain our belief the managers in question did not discriminate against the claimant, and we are considering our position on the case."

Hinchliffe said, "I am delighted that his [Bartmanis] unprofessional and inappropriate behaviour has finally been acknowledged and recognised; it's a great day for all working women and working mothers.  Despite what anyone believes, this case has never been about financial gain for me but ensuring that my previous colleagues never have to go through what I did."

Hinchliffe was awarded an undisclosed amount in compensation.