'Haley was an attention seeker' claim at tribunal

AN HBOS worker told an industrial tribunal Haley Tansey was an attention seeker who openly talked about finding a male colleague in her hotel room during the night.

Mrs Tansey, 39, of Wadsworth Lane, Hebden Bridge, is claiming sexual harassment and constructive dismissal after allegedly enduring a laddish culture for several years.

The tribunal, being held in Leeds, earlier heard she woke in her bed while on a business trip to Cheltenham to find a colleague in her room. He later stripped off his clothes.

Another man giving evidence, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said several colleagues had heard versions of the story from Mrs Tansey.

"I think she did it because she liked the attention," he said. "The first time she met my wife she told her about the incident."

He said his version did not include the man having no clothes on.

He denied allegations that while in the former O'Neill's pub, Halifax, he asked Mrs Tansey which part of her body she shaved.

He also denied trying to lick her breasts in the nearby Barracuda bar in February 2004.

"It is completely untrue. I never performed those actions at any time."

He said he could not recall the team night out in question. "However, I am clear I never behaved in the way Haley has alleged," he said.

He also rejected allegations he asked to look at her holiday pictures, saying he "would like to rip your clothes off" and making sexual remarks.

He said that at a Birmingham conference in 2002 he never threatened to break a man's arm who had allegedly smacked Mrs Tansey's bottom while staff were at a casino evening.

He agreed that in March 2004 they were both among colleagues on a night out in Bradford and had a disagreement on the train there.

Mrs Tansey accused him of staring at her breasts. He denied it.

Earlier in the tribunal, a senior HBOS manager said Mrs Tansey called him a prude in a lapdancing club.

Kenyon Binns told the tribunal about a night out in Edinburgh with colleagues including Mrs Tansey.

Mr Binns said after dinner the conversation turned to visiting The Fantasy Bar lapdancing club but he was not keen to go as he had a presentation the next morning.

"Haley was with us," he said. "I said I would walk her back to the hotel. Haley said she was keen to go. She was happy to go there."

Mr Binns said he joked with Mrs Tansey at the bar about being in a lapdancing club and they both stayed no more than 20 minutes.

Although there reluctantly, he did use his ticket to watch a dance. "Haley joked about me not doing it and called me a prude at one point," he said.

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Under cross-examination from Ceri Woodhouse, he denied claims Mrs Tansey was unaware she was going to a lapdancing club.

"I remember the conversation in the restaurant. I was not particularly keen to go myself. Haley said 'Let's go'."

Mr Binns also denied HBOS staff had watched pornographic films at work and said that would be unacceptable.

He admitted he had watched pornography away from HBOS but said he had no films now and a reference about having a pornographic collection was a joke.

Miss Woodhouse said sexualised language used at HBOS was inappropriate and the bank's harassment policies were not implemented.

Mr Binns had defended the bank's efforts in dealing with Mrs Tansey's prolonged absence due to anxiety and depression but Miss Woodhouse said he failed to act on harassment allegations made by her.

"At no stage has HBOS implemented policy. It just sits there," she said.

"The responsibility is not just on her shoulders. As a manager you had responsibility that she had proper protection."

Another HBOS manager said the allegations made against him by Mrs Tansey were "totally untrue".

Bill Grieve, who worked for HBOS from 1977 until his retirement in 2008, is alleged to have made a crude comment to Mrs Tansey, 39, of Hebden Bridge, at a conference in Birmingham in 2002.

The pair, who met several times each year, were in a hotel bar at a conference when he is alleged to have said that his manhood was "the size of a baby's arm".

He said: "I have never made a comment like that in my life. In fact that is the first time I've heard that turn of phrase.

"I've got a reputation for not using indecent and smutty language almost to the point of an obsession."

Another man, who can not be named for legal reasons, said in his witness statement Mrs Tansey told him about the comments the morning after.

Mr Grieves was asked several times about his drinking habits at the tribunal in Leeds.

He denied claims he drank heavily or that drinking affected his memory of events.

Psychiatrist, Dr Stuart Turner had earlier told the tribunal Mrs Tansey did not suffer from post-traumatic stress following the 1998 incident when a male colleague entered her hotel room uninvited.

Dr Turner, an expert in traumatic stress studies, said she did not meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis.

A person with PTSD would have been exposed to the threat of death or serious injury.

"And there has to be significant distress or impairment such as occupational function," he said.

"The evidence does not indicate substantial impairment. Indeed, Mrs Tansey seems to have been successful at work up to 2005 and indeed was promoted."

But Dr Turner said he believed Mrs Tansey, suffered from a recurrent major depressive disorder.

Mrs Tansey had been able to talk about the hotel incident, and later had emotional problems in 2005/6, Dr Turner told the hearing.

"It is extremely unlikely the 1998 incident led to her depression because of the timescale."

Dr Turner said Mrs Tansey was depressed in 1992 and had a future vulnerability to further episodes.

He said a pregnancy termination and the ending of a marriage were bigger factors than pressure of work and there was no psychiatric reason for delaying an employment tribunal claim.

- Proceeding