HR director unfairly dismissed after rejecting chairman’s advances
A married HR chief was called a ‘whore’ by a health boss after she spurned his advances, an employment tribunal heard.
Helen Marks,who was awarded ‘HR Director of the Year’ at the 2013 Healthcare People Management Association’s (HPMA) awards, was a friend and confidant of Alan Baines before she was forced to reject his unwanted sexual advances.
Mr Baines, then chairman of Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, who was described as ‘bullying and manipulative,’ turned against her and had her suspended from her job.
An employment tribunal ruled that she was unfairly dismissed by the Trust after being subjected to a campaign of harassment.
Following the ruling the health watchdog has launched an investigation and the chief executive, Professor Steve Trenchard, has been suspended.
The tribunal found Professor Trenchard protected Mr Baines, who was allowed to retire with his ‘good name’ intact.
Mr Baines began having lunch meetings with human resources manager Mrs Marks in 2010 in order to discuss work.
Before she was due to get married in March 2012, he confessed that he loved her, the tribunal was told.
She was ‘surprised’ by his choice of words, but thought they were nothing more than good wishes.
In October 2012, the tribunal heard that Mrs Marks was delighted when a member of staff failed to get a promotion.
Mr Baines, who was on the appointments panel, went into her office and kissed her, thinking ‘he had obtained for her the result she desired and wished to seek some reward’.
But later that month, she sent a text to Baines in which there was an ‘indication of discomfort’ by her about their relationship.