Butcher sex case pay-out

Anne Rutherford, of Dunscroft, has won almost �16,000 in a sexual harassment claim with her former employers.  Picture: Liz Mockler D1713LM
Anne Rutherford, of Dunscroft, has won almost �16,000 in a sexual harassment claim with her former employers. Picture: Liz Mockler D1713LM

A FORMER butcher’s shop manager has won £16,000 damages from her former bosses for sexual harassment and discrimination.

An employment tribunal ruled Anne Rutherford was constructively dismissed from Crawshaws where lunch room sex acts and pranks involving raw meat took place.

The 56-year-old has now spoken exclusively to the Free Press saying her treatment has left her a changed person, without the confidence to leave the house.

She said: “My family have never seen me so destroyed as a person.

“I used to be a happy go lucky person and after this happened I just couldn’t be bothered to go out the house.

“I felt that not only had they demoted me but blackened my name.”

Mrs Rutherford, of Norwood Road, Dunscroft, had been employed at the store in Doncaster’s Frenchgate Centre since 2009.

The supervisor found her work life increasingly difficult because staff would not listen to her instructions and would scream at her for pulling them up on hygiene.

She was then left shocked when she was called before the company’s human resources team and told she would be demoted, with an immediate pay cut.

Despite her demotion to a shop assistant for being “abrupt” with her team, male colleagues had their unprofessional behaviour overlooked by managers, an employment tribunal heard.

Men who worked at the store were allowed to swear and shout sexually derogatory names at their female co-workers.

And there was one incident of a man exposing himself and making a crude comment to a female colleague in the lunch room, but he was only given a warning by the management team. The worker then boasted that it had improved his reputation, documents lodged to the tribunal stated.

A male worker also flapped a raw piece of chicken in a woman’s face and made bird noises - again with no serious punishment.

Mrs Rutherford, who has two children aged 36 and 25, helps care for her husband Eric, 66, who is undergoing treatment for cancer and kidney problems.

The tribunal also heard that she had to arrange her husband’s treatment around the social lives of colleagues.

Mrs Rutherford was awarded £15,737,30 in damages for sexual harassment and sex discrimination following the three day tribunal, which included £8,000 for injury to feelings.

The tribunal ruled that Mrs Rutherford had no option other than to resign in May 2011.

Mrs Rutherford, who now works for The Punjabi Curry Sauce Company, said she did not take the matter to a tribunal for the money, but to ensure correct procedures were followed in future.

Kevin Boyd, managing director of Crawshaws, said after the ruling: “We have changed all our procedures as a result of this.

“I have got an excellent work force in Frenchgate.

“Obviously the tribunal has gone Anne’s way but this comes about from something that happened nearly two years ago.”

Mrs Rutherford’s solicitor, Scott Sim of Howells said: “Discrimination of any kind in the work place should not be tolerated.

“Whilst we believe most employers are doing their utmost to treat their employees fairly, there are unfortunately still people who are being subjected to this kind of discrimination which is totally unacceptable.”