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james bruce
james bruce, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2367
Experience:  Owner at James Bruce Solicitors
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A colleague of mine has informed that that she was sexually

Customer Question

Hello. A colleague of mine has informed that that she was sexually assaulted by someone in the workplace. The incident occured after hours
JA: Was this discussed with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I am the manager. She has just spoken to me about it. I have just been off o phone from our discussion
JA: Is the relevant person an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Does she belong to a union?
Customer: She and he both work in the same restaurant. They went to a friends house after drinks and he kept pursuing her. She kept saying no and she woke up to him with his hands down her pants and up her top.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: When she woke up he said he went too far....she and he were staying at a friends house. I dont believe she heard or saw anything.
Submitted: 11 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  james bruce replied 11 days ago.

Hello, I hope you are well. My name is***** am a solicitor advocate and I will be assisting you with your question today. I am very sorry to hear of the problem you are experiencing and I will do my best to help you with this matter.

Very sorry to hear of this.

This is a serious criminal matter and should be treated as such.

She should call the police and report the assault. If this has only just happened it is possible there could be DNA, hair, saliva etc. Samples could be taken from him and her.

As well as the sexual assault, if his hands pr fingers penetrated, that would be an even more serious offence of assault by penetration, and is treated on the same level as being raped.

SO she needs to be given as much support as possible, encouraged not to feel ashamed and guilty, but to go to the police as the victim that she is.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
This incident occured maybe 2 months ago. At the time she was in disbelief and in shock. They were friends at work they hung out and she trusted him and felt safe around him.
She only told me this evening and what steps should I take next? Take a statement from him? Take a statement from the witness ( she was asleep but that's what I was told) ?
Should I have another discussion with her and write it all down?
Should we exempt him from his workplace?
This is the first ever case of secual assault that I have ever had to deal with in the workplace.
I want to do it as professionally as possible but to also make sure she knows that she is supported and that we take this matter very seriously
Expert:  james bruce replied 11 days ago.

Thank you for that additional information, that will be helpfull in allowing me to advise you today.

She can still make the compliant to police, although it is more difficult to prove, but they would still take it very serious and understand her reluctance to come forward.

As far as work is concerned. There are two options open to you. Both equally open to take.

The first option due to the very serious nature of the allegation, and as they work together would be to formally suspend the person concerned pending a full formal investigation. Take statements from the victim, the male concerned. It could be difficult approaching possible witnesses without leaving your company open to legal action by the male if it is unfounded. This why better for the police to do that.

The second option is very similar but without suspending the person.

Once you have completed your own investigate you can either dismiss the claim due to lack of evidence, or if there is proof, or the male admits , you would have to decide what to do. It is such a serious matter that really only instant dismissal would really be appropriate, anything less could ben seen and condoning what happened.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
I do believe if we the company don't do anything it almost condones the matter or that it has just been swept under the carpet which is not ok
Apparently he has admitted to it via text message or whattsapp or some sort of communication outlet.
Should I ask her for this evidence and bring it forward to him?? Then say why he is being dismissed from the workplace?
Expert:  james bruce replied 11 days ago.

Yes, that would be the correct way to deal with it. Speak to her first, obtain the evidence, if it confirms what is claimed, then you would need to put it to him and a matter of process. Then if you are going to terminate employment it can be as gross misconduct with instant dismissal. There would be no reason to give notice as this is not required in cases of gross misconduct.

Customer: replied 11 days ago.
Okay.
Thank you so much for all of your help. I really appreciate it.
Thank you
Expert:  james bruce replied 11 days ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer and for allowing me to assist you with your legal enquiry. I am pleased I was able to be of assistance. Please do not hesitate to come back to me for further advice on this or any other legal matter. It will be my pleasure to be able to assist you again.