Northern Ireland

Teenager awarded £6,000 over service station sexual harassment claim

Applegeen service station M2 Image copyright Google
Image caption Applegreen settled the case without admitting liability

A teenager has been awarded £6,000 over a claim she was sexually harassed by another member of staff while working at an Applegreen service station.

Jodie Jones, 17, suffered the harassment when at the station near Templepatrick, County Antrim, where she was working part-time.

The Equality Commission assisted in her case.

It was settled without Applegreen admitting liability.

The commission said the company had apologised to Ms Jones and had agreed to review its policies.

Image caption Ms Jones said no action was taken by Applegreen until three days later when she visited the store with her parents after telling them what happened

Ms Jones, who was in her first job, said the sexual remarks made to her by a former colleagues "upset and embarrassed her".

"It happened three times. Every time, it just made me feel uncomfortable. I wasn't prepared for what he was going to say next," she said.

"I reported it to my manager, and she said that all she could do was apologise."

Ms Jones said no action was taken by Applegreen until three days later when she visited the store with her parents after telling them what happened.

"I felt like what happened was going to be brushed under the carpet and forgot about, that it would keep happening.

"So I told my parents, and then my parents tried to sort it out but matters still were not resolved. So we went to the Equality Commission."

She added: "I was happy enough to go out and work, I was enjoying earning my own money and doing my own things with it.

"My parents were disgusted. I'm upset because it was my first job and I didn't expect anything like this to happen to me."

Image caption Anne McKernon said the reported behaviour was 'unacceptable'

Anne McKernon, director of legal services at the Equality Commission, said they welcomed the settlement and that Applegreen had "indicated they will work with the Equality Commission to review their practices, policies and procedures".

"This is really unacceptable behaviour for anyone in the workplace but most particularly for a young teenager in her first job of work. It's very upsetting for her and I'm glad it's resolved.

"People really shouldn't have to go through that form of behaviour and they should raise the matter with their employer. What they would then expect is that their employer would deal with it promptly and that's when difficulties started to arise here."

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