Sainsbury's worker who groped colleague wins unfair dismissal claim

Sainsbury's worker who groped colleague wins unfair dismissal claim

Sainsbury’s worker who groped female colleague and called another ‘Yummy mummy’ wins unfair dismissal claim after tribunal ruled his bosses failed to consider that behaviour was caused by head injury

  • Sainsbury’s worker wins discrimination case after he was fired for harassment 
  • Chris Kelly groped one colleague and called co-worker ‘Bin Laden’s mistress’
  • He was found guilty of gross misconduct and sacked by supermarket giant
  • Mr Kelly claimed bosses did not consider that head injury changed his behaviour

A Sainsbury’s worker has won a discrimination case after being fired for repeatedly harassing female colleagues, including calling a Pakistani co-worker ‘Bin Laden’s mistress’ and another a ‘yummy mummy’.

Chris Kelly faced a series of complaints from fellow staff that he had groped one of them, talked about giving his wife multiple orgasms, and called female colleagues ‘b***h’ and ‘w***e’.

After being found guilty of gross misconduct, he was sacked by the supermarket giant for sexual harassment.

Mr Kelly has now won a case for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal after an employment tribunal heard supermarket bosses had failed to consider that his behaviour was caused by a head injury that he suffered following a car crash. He is now in line for compensation from the retailer.

The tribunal heard Mr Kelly began working at Sainsbury’s as a trainee manager in 2000 and was promoted to duty manager in 2002. He had good prospects at the supermarket, the hearing was told.

Chris Kelly faced a series of complaints from fellow staff that he had groped one of them, talked about giving his wife multiple orgasms, and called female colleagues ‘b***h’ and ‘w***e’ (pictured, stock picture of a Sainbury’s store) 

In 2004, Mr Kelly was involved in a serious road traffic accident which left him in an induced coma for a month and in hospital for a few months after that.

The Norwich tribunal heard Mr Kelly’s career stalled when he returned to work and he was unable to continue with his training as manager as he suffered from memory loss problems.

In 2010, a Mr Kelly was accused of calling female colleagues ‘b***h’ and ‘w***e.’ In a disciplinary hearing regarding the complaints, Mr Kelly apologised and said his behaviour had changed since the accident.

In 2015, Mr Kelly was spoken to for calling a female colleague a ‘yummy mummy’ and asking for her phone number.

In 2020, Sainsbury’s received a complaint from a woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, about Mr Kelly’s behaviour at the store in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

She said: ‘My first ever encounter with Chris was towards the end of December 2017. Soon after he was addressing me by misogynistic names such as “w***e” and “b***h” completely unprovoked.

‘A couple of days later, I was condensing down cardboard from the yoghurts I had replenished and I felt him grope my backside.

‘On April 9 2020… I was in the general office… I said I was relieved how I didn’t book to go away this year given the current circumstances with Covid-19 and Chris interrupted and said how he was disappointed because he was looking forward to giving his wife “multies”.

Mr Kelly has now won a case for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal after an employment tribunal heard supermarket bosses had failed to consider that his behaviour was caused by a head injury that he suffered following a car crash (pictured, stock picture of a Sainbury’s store)

‘…he came over twice and rubbed my shoulders.’

The tribunal heard ‘multies’ was a reference to multiple orgasms.

Mr Kelly was also accused of standing behind other female colleagues and customers and rubbing their shoulders. His behaviour was then investigated and no action against him was taken. But the woman appealed this decision and he was re-investigated.

During this second investigation, Mr Kelly was accused of several incidents of sexual harassment against different female colleagues.

Sainsbury’s worker Ian Heggs said he supported a young female colleague aged 18-20 who was upset over the way Mr Kelly had spoken to her.

The tribunal heard: ‘Mr Heggs said he had seen Mr Kelly go up behind the woman and put his hand on her back and had heard him make comments to her, “You’re really hot”, “I wouldn’t turn you away” and “If my wife knew what I was thinking about you I would be in trouble”.

‘He said that he had witnessed this on numerous occasions two or three times a week.’

A Pakistani woman, who was referred to as Mary, said Mr Kelly touched her on her hips, her shoulder and her back.

The tribunal heard: ‘She said that he had “said stuff” to her about her “butt”. She said he had sent her a weird video on Facebook and had referred to her as “Bin Laden’s mistress”. She said that this has been going on for four years or so.’

The tribunal heard the video Mr Kelly had sent the woman was ‘racist,’ ‘appalling’ and ‘obscene’.

Mr Kelly was fired for sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour. He then sued his employers for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal as he said he was prone to child-like behaviour after his accident.

Employment Judge Martin Warren ruled in Mr Kelly’s favour despite saying it was ‘very obvious’ that an employer could not have a worker behaving in the way he did.

Judge Warren added that Sainsbury’s did not consider a 2011 report from a psychologist that said some of Mr Kelly’s inappropriate behaviours may be because of his head injury.

‘Sainsbury’s disregarded (Mr Kelly’s) disability, it had the 2011 report on file and did not consider it,’ the judge said.

‘Sainsbury’s did not appear to even consider the possible, (in our view obvious) impact of Mr Kelly’s injury on his behaviour.’

Mr Kelly’s compensation will be decided at a later date.

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