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Jenny, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor specialising in Employment Law and general legal matters. Please start your question For Jenny Only
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2 years ago a colleague had been verbally abusive and

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2 years ago a colleague had been verbally abusive and slammed a chair down in front of me whilst I was sat at my desk and I was 6 months pregnant at the time. There was a witness to the incident who at the time confirmed this and said he thought the person in question was going to hit me he was being so aggressive. A few hours later I asked the perpetrating colleague to meet me in one of our meeting rooms by the receptionist as I wanted to give him a chance to apologise as we still had to work together, i emailed him, he agreed but once in the room he started shouting at me telling me how could I a PA call him into question etc etc. He stormed out of the meeting room and our receptionist heard his raised voice from the reception desk outside and witnessed him storming out in a rage. At this point I raised a formal complaint with senior management, they investigated and spoke to both the witnesses, he then apologised for his behaviour in writing (although avoided any mention in writing of slamming the chair) and he was issued with a formal warning. Whilst I was on maternity leave he left the company. I have been back at work for 10 months, although he has left the company he is still good friends with the CIO (they worked together before they both started at my company and the CIO had brought him onboard straight after he himself joined) whom he emailed the other day threatening to sue me if i continued to spread rumours about him as someone had apparently asked him if he had thrown a chair at a pregnant lady whilst employed at my company and that he knows this information came from me. The CIO forwarded the email to my line manager who asked me to resolve it. I responded to my line manager to say I have no idea what he is referring to or to whom I am supposed to have made the allegation of assault to and the issue of his misconduct was resolved when he appologised 2 years ago and that I have never accused anyone of assault during the 10 years that I have been with the company and that I hope this helped to clarify the issue. My line manager reverted back to me to say that it didn't clarify anything, if he pursued to sue it has nothing to do with the company and I would be personally liable financially and that perhaps I should reach out to him to resolve the matter. He then forwarded my mail to the CIO and 2 other colleagues stating "FYI for your record".
As the ex colleague never reached out to me directly and we have never been in communication outside of work I don't think it would be appropriate for me to contact him directly. Not only that but I tried to speak to him amicably at the time of the incident as stated earlier when he shouted and belittled me, that was whilst he was employed at our company, I have no doubt he would be even more abusive now he is not an employee here and I don's want any contact with him what so ever. Furthermore, I have never claimed that he threw a chair at me, the actual incident was bad enough why would I embellish it any further and I feel that if I reach out to him it only gives his false claim some weight. I believe my response to my line manager was sufficient and the appropriate way to handle this would have been for him to forward my email to the CIO who had contacted him about this and in turn the CIO forward onto my ex colleague which would have clarified the situation.
Please can you advise me on what I should do as I want this matter laid to rest, I believe my ex colleague is harrassing me as he still bears a big grudge over having to apologise and subsequently receiving a formal warning over the incident. The fact that he is the CIO's long standing friend i strongly believe is the only reason they are even entertaining this ridiculous claim. If somebody has gone back to him and said that then its clearly someone stirring the pot or Chinese whispers for which I can not be held accountable. I don't want to put myself into a position where it looks like I am accepting liability and I also don't want to put myself in an awkward position at work.
I would really appreciate some guidance on this matter as it is incredibly stressful and I believe my company are giving this far more weight than it deserves and in turn putting undue stress on me. I'm not sure where i stand with my company as on one hand they are saying it has nothing to do with them yet on the other they are bringing this to me and insisting my response is not clarification enough, surely as the original incident happened whilst we were both employed here, that i am still employed here and he contacting my management about hearsay with regards ***** ***** original incident then the company have a duty of care towards me. All I want to do is get on with my life but I feel stressed out and badgered and bulied. I would really appreciate your help and guidance.
Many thanks

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am happy to help you today. Is your employer threatening to take action against you as a result of this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No they're not. In fact the full email trail is appended below so you can see exactly what was written and by whom.
I'm confused why my response to Anuj my line manager wasn't enough to resolve this and why he feels that this is a bigger thing than it is that he should forward our correspondences to others especially as Simon actually works for a totally separate entity (umbrella company) than the one I work for so he shouldn't be privy to our confidential exchanges?From: Anuj G
Date: 24 July 2016 at 10:01:16 BST
To: ***** ***** david.*****, ***** Osullivan
Cc: Sev Mehmet
Subject: Fwd: Re: Fwd:FYI and recordBegin forwarded message:From: Anuj G
Date: 24 July 2016 at 10:00:10 BST
To: ***** *****
Subject: Re: Fwd:
SevActually it doesn't clarify things. If Nik decides to go legal then it's your word against his, with the support of any witnesses that may be present.If it goes down the legal route, the company will not be liable, you will be personally. You will have to take up the legal expense of defending yourself legally.You may like to write down the events as you see them, and get witnesses to endorse them in writing. This is if you intend to defend yourself. Or you may decide to reach out to Nik to clarify and settle the matter. The choice is up to you.AnujOn 23 Jul 2016, at 22:46, Sev Mehmet wrote:Dear AnujI really have no idea what he is referring to or to whom I am supposed to have made this allegation of assault to. There was an issue of his behaviour towards me whilst I was pregnant which I had brought to your attention and for which he had formally apologised. As far as I am concerned the matter was resolved 2 years ago with his formal apology and the matter laid to rest. I have never claimed that Nik or anyone else has ever assaulted me so I am perplexed at his accusation.I hope this clarifies things.Kind regardsSevSent from my iPhoneOn 23 Jul 2016, at 16:07, Anuj Gupta wrote:SevPl resolve this and confirm to me it's sortedABegin forwarded message:From: Simon Goodman
Date: 23 July 2016 at 15:19:57 BST
To: ***** *****
Subject: Fwd:
Anuj, hope you're okCan you just have a quiet word with Sev to diffuse any issue..
ThanksSimonBegin forwarded message:From: Nikolaos
Date: 22 July 2016 at 21:50:21 CEST
To Simon
I was asked today if I threw a chair at a pregnant woman while I was at duet. This information came from Sev herselfAs you know this did not happen, and there were witnesses to the event in the room.I will take legal action if Sev continues to spread this rumourNik

Have you asked them what they expect you to do to resolve it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, other than the email trail I sent you there's been no other discussion about it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do I need to do anything? It's totally unfounded
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If you read the email trail Simon has asked Anuj to have a word with me to diffuse any situation.
My email should clarify I'm not involved in this rumour and had laid the matter to rest 2 years ago

Well if this was an event that occurred 2 years ago there is absolutely no reason for your employer to expect you to do anything. It is inappropriate for your employer to abuse the fact that the CEO is friendly with the ex-employee in this way and is also potentially discriminatory on the grounds of sex.

I would suggest you ask exactly what you want to do and raise a grievance about the fact that they suggest you need to do anything when this was an incident of abuse against you in the workplace when you were pregnant and therefore you had the right to be protected by your employer in the first place.

You should obviously deny that you have been speaking about this outside of work.

If you have any further questions please ask.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Jenny.
Do you think I should leave things be as they are and if they raise the subject again then I revert with what you said? I still work here and don't want to make a rod for my back.

Yes you can do that, although if they were to treat you badly as a result of raising the discrimination issue it would amount to victimisation. Perhaps wait to see if it is raised again.

If you have any further questions please do ask. If I have answered your question I would be grateful if you would take the time to rate my answer. Thank you and all the best.

Hello Sev is there anything else you would like to know?

If I have answered your question please take the time to leave a rating before leaving the site as I am not otherwise paid for the time I have spent working on your question today. I will be happy to answer your follow on questions.

Jenny and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jenny
You have been brilliant. Thank you ever so much. Through a colleague I will let them know I have sought legal advise and let them know your comments but make it clear I want this matter put to bed. Hopefully that would be enough to stop this nonsense. If I need any more advise i hope it will be OK to contact you again. Many thanks again, really x

Yes please do come back to me in the future if you need to . Thanks