Royal Mail has been ordered to pay a recommended sum of more than £100,000 to an employee due to bullying and unfair dismissal after she blew the whistle on potential fraudulent activity relating to bonuses.
The case, Ms K Jhuti v Royal Mail Group, saw the claimant Kam Jhuti allege a long-running bullying campaign by her boss, after she raised concerns that a colleague she was shadowing was not following Ofcom guidance, and was breaching the business’ bonus policy. This then resulted in unfair dismissal.
The employment tribunal confirmed that Jhuti was bullied, harrassed and intimidated by the superior to whom she reported her concerns, and who appeared to also benefit from the potential fraud. Evidence was heard that Jhuti had suffered severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her treatment, which included anxiety and regular panic attacks, and ultimately contributed to a breakdown in her relationship with her daughter, among other issues.
The original hearing in this matter took place in 2015. Approximately seven years later, the tribunal has recommended that Royal Mail pay £109,065 in compensation, and £12,500 in aggravated damages. This is only a recommendation, and the final amount will be determined between the parties at a later point.
Aggravated damages apply in situations where the court deems an act of discrimination to have been high-handed, malicious, insulting or oppressive.
The judgement stated: “The impact of the campaign of bullying, intimidation and harassment by Mr Widmer in this case has undoubtedly been profound…While, as a rule, we try to avoid language which might be deemed intemperate, it is nonetheless true to say that the respondent’s treatment of the claimant has destroyed the claimant’s life. Furthermore, all of the medical professionals are clear that the resolution of these employment tribunal proceedings is necessary as a prerequisite to the claimant beginning to make any sort of recovery.”
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Royal Mail has a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment or discrimination of any kind. We value the work and commitment of all individuals who work in our business. This is a long-running case that relates to matters arising a number of years ago. We are now reviewing this decision. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”