For those of you who don’t think its worth challenging sexism in the workplace when you are confronted with it, we encourage you to read the incredible story of Marion Konczak.
Through sheer persistence, and after 10 years of legal strife, she was awarded £360,000 to compensate for her boss’s failure to deal with appalling gender-based bullying she suffered.
Marion worked for arms manufacturer BAE Systems. In 2007, she complained to her supervisor that she was being “harassed, including sexually” by colleagues she was working with on an RAF project.
Rather than providing Marion with the support she needed to recover from the stress it caused her, and take action against those involved, she was told that “women take things more emotionally than men, whilst men tend to forget things and move on.”
Upset about the company’s refusal to take her seriously, she was eventually signed off sick with a stress-related illness, and later sacked.
Determined to get justice for the discrimination she had suffered while at BAE, she took her former employers to a tribunal. In 2014 – yes, seven years after the incident – her complaint was upheld and she was awarded £360,178.
Sadly, that wasn’t the end of the battle. BAE systems appealed against the amount they were ordered to pay Marion, calling it “grossly excessive”. Add a further three years of waiting, and the Court of Appeal has finally ruled that Marion “deserved every penny” and upheld the original ruling.
The news comes a week after the Supreme Court ruled that workplace tribunal fees were unlawful. The Government will be forced to repay £27million to employees who spent thousands fighting cases of unfair dismissal, discrimination and workplace issues since July 2013.
This gives more woman, like Marion, greater opportunity to take employers to tribunal over things like office sexism, and hopefully will make bosses think twice before they dismiss cases of discrimination so flippantly in the future.