Fighting to get employers to support victims of sexual harassment

by Michelle Russell

Fighting to get employers to support victims of sexual harassment

by Michelle Russell
Michelle Russell
I have been an NHS nurse for 30 years. I was sexually harassed and assaulted by a colleague and this was covered up by my employer, an NHS foundation trust. I do not want this to happen to anyone else
16
days to go
£1,420
pledged of £3,000 target by 46 people
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Michelle Russell
I have been an NHS nurse for 30 years. I was sexually harassed and assaulted by a colleague and this was covered up by my employer, an NHS foundation trust. I do not want this to happen to anyone else
Pledge now

Your card will only be charged if the case meets its target of £3,000 by Feb. 03, 2018, 8 a.m.

My story 

I am a victim of sexual harassment and assault whilst working for the NHS. I believe that by taking a stand in my case I may be able to get more support for other women who are sexually harassed or assaulted in the workplace. 

I am raising money to support a legal case against my sexual harraser and my employer. This action aims to ensure employers don't continue to turn a blind eye to incidents of sexual harassment. But I can't do this without your support. 

Until I was sexually harassed I managed a team of Community Nurses. I thoroughly enjoyed my work and felt it was important to my local community. I got a lot of satisfaction from being able to help and care for children and other patients. I was active, energetic and committed to my work. I felt valued and useful. 

During a three month period in May to July 2015 I was subjected to sexual harassment by a colleague. I asked my employer for help but it failed to intervene. I found the sexual harassment incredibly stressful. In the end I became so upset I was simply unable to leave home and lost all of my confidence. I have been signed off work sick since September 2015. 

Crowdfunding goals 

I know that I am not alone in this. Employers’ must be made to understand what women go through when they are sexually harassed and not be allowed to dismiss it as something which happens – just a fact of life. If something isn’t done companies and the NHS, where I work, will be able to go on turning a blind eye and the harassment will never stop. 

I know it is only one small step towards redressing the balance, but I want to bring my sexual harasser and my employer to court to expose what has been going on. Unless employers are forced to answer for their inaction they will go on putting the health and welfare of their employees at risk, and also the public they deal with. 

I doubt if I will ever be able to return to nursing so I also want to obtain compensation for the loss of my career. If my employer had intervened I would not be in the position I am today. 

Why I need financial help 

In order to achieve my goals I obviously need legal support. Tim Johnson/Law has been brilliant in explaining the law to me and outlining my options. Because of the time which has passed since I was harassed, I will be bringing a claim in the County Court. I will need a barrister to represent me. So far my legal fees amount to £3000. I will need another £12,000 to bring my case to court.

I am certain my case will have an impact because it has already been covered by Victoria Derbyshire on TV and other journalists have said they too would like to cover it. 

Employers need to act much more decisively to support sexually harassed women. They also need to promote a much better understanding of the suffering sexually harassed women can go through. 

A new approach, with new procedures, practice and training, is urgently needed. Please join me in taking action now.

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