The UK's Royal Mail has awarded over 2.3 million pounds (approx Rs 24 crore) in compensation to a British-Indian former employee who was bullied and intimidated for blowing the whistle on potential fraud relating to bonuses.
Compensation comes after lengthy court battle of 8 years
Kam Jhuti, a media specialist, was harassed by her boss Mike Widmer after she raised concerns that a colleague had secured their bonus illegitimately, The Telegraph reported. In a lengthy court battle lasting nearly eight years, the Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that Jhuti was unfairly dismissed, and was left suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression.
A tribunal in 2022 had concluded that the postal service had been "high-handed, malicious, insulting and oppressive" in how it had conducted the case. The court heard that Jhuti, born to Indian parents in the UK, started work at the Royal Mail's MarketReach unit based in London in September 2013. When she suspected a team member breaching the company's bonus policy, Jhuti raised the issue with Widmer who began an extended bullying campaign against her.
The colleague was breaching company policy, obtaining a bonus for herself and indirectly securing Widmer's, according to media reports. Jhuti was invited to accept three months' pay and subsequently a year's salary to leave Royal Mail. She told the tribunal that after leaving Royal Mail in 2014, she suffered from post-traumatic stress and severe depression and has not been able to return to work because of her mental health.
In 2015, Jhuti took Royal Mail to an initial employment tribunal, and the lengthy legal battle culminated with the Supreme Court ruling in her favour.
A business expert in Tailor-Made Incentives or bonuses confirmed that Jhuti's allegations were correct. Of the 2,365,614.13 pounds -- the highest ever payout by the Royal Mail -- Jhuti will only receive 250,000 pounds straight away at the moment, as the postal service plans to appeal the tribunal's findings, The Telegraph said.
A spokesperson for the Royal Mail had said that the company has "zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment or discrimination of any kind. We value the work and commitment of all individuals who work in our business".