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Primark fined £47,000 over transgender discrimination ruling

Primark has been ordered to pay £47,433  in compensation to a former transgender employee after they were harassed and constructively dismissed.

The Employment Tribunal ruled that the retailer was to compensate Alexandra de Souza E Souza, who worked at Primark’s Oxford Street west store, to cover injury to feelings, and loss of pay and pension contributions.

The tribunal judged that the other staff members in the London store bullied her, and Primark failed to deal with the issue properly –  failing to have “proper systems from the outset to preserve confidentiality for transgender employees”.

The court heard that supervisors and staff reportedly subjected her to unfair treatment, including spraying her with men’s perfume, and calling her “a joke”, while one male security guard said “she is evil” openly in front of customers.

De Souza E Souza complained to Primark on multiple occasions but the court heard she was “told to calm down”. She subsequently resigned, which the judge ruled was constructive dismissal.

As well as ordering compensation the employment tribunal recommended that by 31 March Primark should adopt a written policy on how to deal with new or existing staff who are transgender or who wish to undergo gender reassignment.

In a press statement Primark said: “Primark is an equal opportunities employer and we do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, against any person, on any grounds. All policies relating to our people are based on fair treatment for all, to ensure the promotion and practice of equality of opportunity.

“We are extremely disappointed that on this occasion our usual high standards in implementing these policies were not met and we sincerely apologise to the employee in question for this.

“We remain fully committed to equal opportunities and are reviewing our internal policies and training to ensure similar issues do not arise in the future.”

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