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UNIQUE LEGAL ACTION - FAILURE TO PROTECT STAFF FROM CLLR

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Unison is to sue for damages in a case involving a Sunderland Labour councillor accused of sexual harassment charge...
Unison is to sue for damages in a case involving a Sunderland Labour councillor accused of sexual harassment charges. The case could set legal precedents by establishing what powers an authority has over one of its own councillors, The Journal reports (p2).

Sunderland social services launched an inquiry last October following accusations of physical and verbal harassment made by three women employees at a council advice centre. The eight month investigation, which reportedly stretched back two years, finished with a recommendation that no action be taken.

Now, reports the Journal, lawyers representing the women are arguing that both Sunderland City Council and the ruling Labour group failed in their duty by not acting after the investigation was over. Solicitor Stefan Cross said: 'We believe that the council has failed in its obligation to a member of staff.'

The councillor concerned denies allegations of harassment.

A spokeswoman for the authority confirmed an investigation had taken place, and said the matter was now in the hands of council solicitors.
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