Derbyshire NHS Trust “scandal”: when should an employer give in?

Publication: HR Magazine

A recent employment tribunal decision has placed Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust at the centre of a tabloid frenzy, with headlines proclaiming it cost taxpayers £1.5 million.

The case involved the trust’s former director of workforce and organisation Helen Marks. The employment tribunal found that the trust’s chairman, Alan Baines, pressured Marks to have a sexual relationship with him and, when she rejected his advances, he engineered spurious and unfounded allegations of bullying and harassment against her in an attempt to secure her dismissal. Marks eventually resigned, claiming constructive dismissal. She was found to have been unfairly dismissed and subjected to unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and was awarded over £800,000 compensation.

Steve Trenchard, the trust’s former chief executive, was found to have assisted Baines in covering the matter up and preventing any proper investigation. He has since resigned, following a seven month suspension and allegedly receiving a £75,000 pay-off.

The weakness of the trust’s defence, the significant legal costs incurred…

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