A. John Williams successfully defends a workplace bullying claim brought by the Executive Manager of the Cromwell Hospital
On 12 March 2012 John Leighton Williams QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) handed down judgment in the case of King v Medical Services International Ltd. The Claimant was the Executive Manager of the Cromwell Hospital in London. She alleged that, between 2003 and August 2006, she was subjected to a campaign of bullying and harassment by the Hospital’s Acting CEO, Dr Al Muhairi. The Claimant relied on 45 incidents which she said evidenced a deliberate intention on the part of Dr Al Muhairi to demean and humiliate her. The damages claim was ultimately pleaded in excess of £3 million. Dr Al Muhairi did not give evidence.
Following an 8 day trial, the Judge held that on 4 occasions Dr Al Muhairi overstepped the mark but these incidents did not (either individually or collectively) amount to a breach of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. He also held that the Claimant's breakdown was not foreseeable and had been caused not by her work, but by personal circumstances which had led the Claimant to seek refuge in her work. The Judgment reviews earlier authorities on workplace & harassment; addresses the question of who is to be treated as the embodiment of a corporate Defendant where the Claimant is a senior executive and considers whether a senior executive who was responsible for HR matters and, in particular, the Defendant's harassment & grievance policies is contributorilly negligent in not herself using those procedures to deal with alleged harassment & bullying at work.
A John Williams, instructed by Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP (London) acted for the successful Defendant. A copy of the judgment is available upon request.
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