A military veteran with a 22-year military record has been awarded £168k against a former employer after blowing the whistle on bullying, racism and sexual harassment at his employer’s Bangalore office after investigating posts on Glassdoor.
Martyn Diamond Black was approached by colleagues at Alain Charles Publishing about the disparaging reviews on the website Glassdoor. As Manager of Health, Safety and Security Forums, Mr Diamond Black decided to investigate the issue and raised the matter with Nick Fordham Managing Director of the London-based publisher that has offices in India and the UAE. Mr Fordman asked him to compile a written report on his interviews with staff members.
Mr Diamond Black’s probing uncovered claims made against a female office manager of inappropriate sexual behaviour, a culture of bulling and harassment, flouting Covid-restrictions and favouring lighter-skinned staff over their darker counterparts.
Mr Diamond Black’s 31-page report recommended that the member of staff be suspended while an HR-led investigation was instigated. Instead, his boss Nick Fordham dismissed the recommendations and leaked the report to the very person being accused of misconduct while keeping her in post.
An Employment Tribunal in London heard how Mr Fordham excluded the claimant from meetings and instructed staff in Bangalore and Dubai to cease all forms of communication with him.
Mr Diamond Black, a former Senior Non-Commissioned Officer with the British Army, said he felt marginalised and isolated and was demoted without any warning or consultation. He found that his role became increasingly untenable so resigned from the post before filing a case against Alain Charles for wrongful treatment.
The tribunal court ruled that Mr Diamond Black, had been subject to unfair and wrongful dismissal, and experienced detriment and victimisation for whistleblowing while working at Alain Charles. This amounted to several breaches of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and one of the Equality Act 2010.
The court said: “… the respondent did commit a fundamental breach of the claimant’s contract of employment. The marginalisation and undermining of his role were in breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence…. the claimant was excluded from meetings to which he would hitherto have been invited…the Respondent breached the Claimant’s contract of employment …the Claimant was entitled to resign because of these breaches.”
The court accepted that Mr Diamond Black had a genuine belief that his confidential report into claims of sexual harassment, bullying, breaches of Covid-19 quarantine measures and racism were reasonable and made in the public interest.
The court ordered Alain Charles Publishing to pay Martyn Diamond Black £167,942 compensation including loss of earnings.
The eight-day hearing started in February 2022 and concluded in September 2022 was chaired by David Hughes with Philip Madelin and Samuel Pearlman. Mr Diamond was represented by Debbie Grennan of Guildhall Chambers with Slater and Gordon Lawyers and Lyons Davidson Solicitors.