AN ESTATE agent was fined over £21,000 after ignoring an employee's health and safety concerns and treating her with "hostility".

Sheldon Bosley Knight was forced to pay £21,890.63 in damages after showing "frustration" towards an employee who raised concerns over safety within the Evesham branch.

The employee had advised how to stop the spread of coronavirus in the office by recommending the company install screens and more signage for customers in July 2020.

She had said she felt scared of Covid and realised procedures were not adequately put in place after a tenant, who did speak very good English, did not understand social distancing. 

The incident led them to break social distancing rules, and the employee raised concerns with the company.

But the company's owner, Mike Cleary, condemned the employee for "total ignorance" and questioned how "someone is so reckless".

An employment tribunal found that Sheldon Bosley Knight had wrongly treated the employee by furloughing her, declining to give her a Christmas bonus, which other employees received, and ignoring the health and safety concerns raised.

Sheldon Bosley Knight told the tribunal it believed the employee was at fault for breaching guidelines.

However, it was found that the company had breached them, not the employee.

A spokesperson at the tribunal said: "The evidential picture showed quite clearly that Mr Cleary was frustrated to have received the claimant's disclosure.

"It created a mindset where he formed a hostile and negative view of the claimant and this led him to treat the claimant detrimentally in the ways we have identified.

"We were also satisfied that this was an ongoing situation where the incidents causing detriment were linked to each other rather than a succession of unconnected acts."

As a result, the employee has been paid £20,000 for injury to feelings, £1,743.76 for loss of earnings, £50 for the Christmas bonus and £96.87 for pension contributions.

A spokesperson for Sheldon Bosley Knight said: “Sheldon Bosley Knight always has, and always will, put the safety of its staff at the top of its priority list.

"We have noted the judgement in this case and have responded accordingly.”