Former solicitor Owen Hughes, who likened himself to “a sleek kangaroo” and novelist Jane Austen’s noble brooder Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, has lost his appeal against a judgment for sexual harassment he perpetrated against an employee.
This blog had previously reported on the Owen Hughes sexual harassment case brought by a former employee of his law practice.
Junior/trainee solicitor Catherine Mia Hill began working with Owen Hughes’ Bangalow based law firm Beesley and Hughes Lawyers in May 2015. Soon after, Hughes offered to represent her in a mediation for her own family law matter, and she agreed.
A couple of months later, Hughes started his course of sexual harassment by sending Hill emails telling her that he thought she was attractive, and he wanted to be in a relationship with her.
Amy Louise Robinson was employed by activewear company Lorna Jane Pty Ltd between July and December 2012 as manager of Lorna Jane’s DFO store at Skygate near Brisbane Airport.
Ms Robinson claimed to have suffered a psychiatric injury from workplace bullying by Megan McCarthy (Lorna Jane’s learning and development manager) and haemorrhoids when lifting and moving heavy boxes of stock during the course of her employment.
Vicarious liability is a common law principle which imposes liability despite the employer’s not itself being at fault. The claim for psychiatric injury alleged that Lorna Jane was vicariously liable for the actions of McCarthy and also that an email from a former DFO store employee named Ms Maninnen which alleged ill-treatment of Robinson by McCarthy had put the company ‘on notice’ and that it had subsequently failed to investigate.
Continue reading “Lorna Jane’s comprehensive court win”