Anti-abuse charity ordered to pay £75,000 damages to ex-employee

An employment tribunal judged that Ali Khan, the founder of Glasgow-based Roshni, had sexually harassed the woman

Roshni: disputed judgment
Roshni: disputed judgment

A Glasgow-based anti-abuse charity has been ordered to pay almost £75,000 in damages over claims that a former employee was subjected to sexual harassment that left them with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An employment tribunal found that Ali Khan, founder of Roshni, had engaged in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature with the claimant, which the tribunal said constituted harassment.

Khan was found by the tribunal, which concluded in August but published its judgment last week, to have treated the claimant less favourably because of their rejection of or submission to unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. The name of the claimaint has not been disclosed.

The tribunal also found that Khan harassed the claimant with the purpose or effect of violating their dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them to be in.

In the employment tribunal’s ruling, Roshni was deemed to have not taken "all reasonable steps" to prevent Khan from carrying out the harassment and victimisation of the claimant and was therefore ordered to pay damages.

The damages awarded to the claimant, £74,647.96, include an injury to feelings award of £35,000 and a personal injury award of £20,000.

The tribunal heard that the claimant had received treatment for depression and, in May 2015, told her doctor that her boss was being verbally and physically abusive.

This abuse allegedly included him threatening to call her house and tell her mother they were having an affair.

The claimant told the tribunal she was worried Khan would "fulfil his threat to post a video of them online or show her family".

The tribunal found that Khan had reduced the claimant’s working hours after she rejected his advances, took steps to prevent her leaving the charity and gave her a final written warning without justification.

A clinical psychologist giving evidence to the tribunal said that the claimant had post-traumatic stress disorder and a major depressive disorder, which together would require 26 sessions of psychological therapy. The psychologist said the PTSD had arisen because of the events that occurred at work.

In addition to paying damages to the claimant, Roshni was ordered to provide all staff, volunteers and trustees with at least six hours of training in equality and diversity issues, with a specific focus on sexual and religious harassment.

Khan was ordered to play no part in the selection of the external supplier for the training sessions.

Roshni was told to issue a letter of apology to the claimant.

In a statement, the charity said it was "very disappointed" with the tribunal’s decision, did not agree with its conclusions and said it would have appealed if it had the resources to do so.

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