Primark has been ordered by the Employment Tribunal to pay £47,000 compensation to a former employee who was subjected to harassment for being transgender and constructively dismissed.
Retail assistant Alexandra de Souza E Souza worked at Primark’s Oxford Street west store.
The tribunal found that other staff members bullied her, and she was awarded £47,433 in compensation to cover injury to feelings, and loss of pay and pension contributions.
It said the respondents subjected the claimant to direct gender reassignment discrimination by failing properly to investigate the matter and deal with it appropriately, in particular by the failure to give the claimant the outcome of her grievance or advise her of the right of appeal.
The employment tribunal recommended that by 31 March Primark should adopt a written policy on how to deal with new or existing staff who are transgender or who wish to undergo gender reassignment; include a reference to the existence of a policy of confidentiality in regard to transgender new starters in training materials for managers; amend the materials used for equality training of staff, management and HR to include, if not already there, references to transgender discrimination; ensure that transgender discrimination and harassment is referred to in all of its equality and harassment policies, along with any other protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010; and add into the training materials for management on handling grievances.
In a press statement Primark said:
“Primark is an equal opportunities employer and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, against any person, on any grounds. All policies relating to our people are based on fair treatment for all, to ensure the promotion and practice of equality of opportunity.
We are extremely disappointed that on this occasion, our usual high standards in implementing these policies were not met and we sincerely apologise to the employee in question for this.
We remain fully committed to equal opportunities and are reviewing our internal policies and training to ensure similar issues do not arise in the future.”