Q: I arranged to show a client around an empty property but when I met him, he wanted the keys and to go round alone. I refused and explained it was company policy that clients must be accompanied. He became verbally abusive and said he was an important client so he could do whatever he wanted. He threatened to put in a complaint and have me sacked. Frightened, I gave him the keys and waited in my car.
Back at the office, I informed my line manager and said I wanted an apology from the client. She basically shrugged it off and told me to get over it. I felt abused by the client and let down by my manager? I feel like quitting the job, but my husband says I should stay and seek compensation as I was bullied.
A: Employees have the right to feel safe and respected at work. If during the course of your employment you are involved in any incident with a client that results in abuse, threats or assault, it may be classed as third party ‘work-related violence’. A ‘third party’ could be a customer, a client, a patient, a business contact, contractor or agency worker.
If you have been verbally abused, suffered sexual harassment or been undermined at work by a third party, it is not part of your job and it is not acceptable. In your case you may have been subjected to all these three things and it was your employer’s duty to take your complaint seriously and take steps to protect you.
Before handing in your notice, you should seek advice from a solicitor. In preparation, write out a clear account of everything that happened and, if possible, gather together any evidence to back up your story, such as the names of any colleagues who may have overheard the discussions with your manager.
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