£10,000 payout for Sheffield barmaid who quit job over string of rude remarks

RUTLAND ARMS   Landlord Andy Stephens at the Rutland Arms, Brown Street.         20 January 2010
RUTLAND ARMS Landlord Andy Stephens at the Rutland Arms, Brown Street. 20 January 2010

Barmaid Kathryn Broughton has won £10,000 compensation after she was asked to show off her chest to boost a Sheffield pub’s trade.

Pub manager Andrew Stephens asked the petite 21-year-old blonde if she was wearing a push-up bra while working at the Rutland Arms in Sheffield city centre.

When the university graduate failed to reply, her 33-year-old married boss told her: “Well, you really should.”

Miss Broughton told an employment tribunal: “He said ‘we’ll get more customers and you’ll get more tips’.”

The part-time barmaid won her claim for sex discrimination after she quit the real ale pub in disgust following a string of rude remarks.

She claimed ongoing sexual harassment over a six-month period by Mr Stephens, a shareholder in the pub company which runs the Rutland, on Brown Street.

Miss Broughton said her boss gave her a breasts-related nickname to ‘curry favour’ with a member of staff with whom he was engaging in banter at the bar and repeated it on several occasions in front of other bar and kitchen staff.

When she was off sick, Mr Stephens made a comment about her having a sexually-transmitted disease and he labelled her boyfriend a transvestite.

In a Facebook message, Miss Broughton was told of a rumour that female bar staff could be asked to wear more revealing tops.

It culminated in her resigning following the incident on June 1, 2010 after Mr Stephens drank at least five pints one evening and was chatting to customers and then kitchen staff at the bar.

He directed the ‘push-up bra’ comment towards her at the end of the evening, and Miss Broughton said: “I felt upset and degraded and very self-cons- cious.”

Mr Stephens denied making any sexual comments to the barmaid.

He said there was never any proposal to change the staff uniforms.

The panel decided Miss Broughton’s sex discrimination claim in her favour after a two-day hearing.

Employment Judge John Trayler said in his judgment that the panel believed the comments were made as described by the barmaid, although the sexually-transmitted disease remark was not an act of discrimination, but ‘unwelcome’ nevertheless.

Mr Trayler said Mr Stephens was not precise about the events of June 1 and ‘there is a possibility drink might have had an influence on the events of that day’.

Mr Trayler said: “We think it more likely than not that the claimant’s version is correct.”

“She’s a relatively quiet-spoken individual whom we believe was pretty upset. The circumstances were serious and caused her to give up her job.”

Miss Broughton was awarded £10,000 for injury to feelings and £529.34 in wages plus interest against Mr Stephens and the Sheffield-based pub company Reet Ale Pubs.