Elaine, 50, is a mum of two from Yorkshire, who has been married for almost 30 years and is a regular churchgoer and fundraiser in her local community. But in November 2010, the accounts manager found herself at the centre of an extraordinary case when her employer accused her of viewing porn sites at work.
Elaine has now won an employment tribunal against her former employers for unfair dismissal. She says although she’s had a lot of support, she’s been utterly humiliated and wonders if if some people actually believed she secretly looked at porn while she was at work.
Last month, she was awarded £20,000 in compensation and wanted to talk about the humiliating episode that almost her ruined her life. We secured her coverage in a number of national newspapers, including the Daily Mail and Daily Express.
Elaine’s ordeal started when she was told she was being suspended from her job, which she had been in for ten years, for viewing hardcore pornography websites. It later emerged that the sites in question were probably pop-up sites that Elaine had no idea were even there, but her employers insisted she had viewed them, despite the fact that several people regularly accessed her computer.
Elaine was shocked and distraught at the allegations but, despite protesting her innocence, she was forced to leave her job feeling utterly humiliated. She recalls having to tell her son Tom, 23, who works for the RAF, and her daughter Ruth, 20, a university student, and they too thought it was ludicrous. Her husband David, 51, an engineer, was equally baffled, but they all stuck by her.
In September 2011 the case went to an employment tribunal, which Elaine won, and last week she was awarded £20K in damages. She now wants to get on with her life but has had to have counselling to get over it. Elaine is a regular churchgoer and fundraises for the local brass band and she says anyone who knows her will know the idea of her watching porn is ridiculous.
She says she’s just a normal 50-year-old woman who likes walking her dog on the moors or curling up on the sofa with a good book and now she feels her reputation has been tainted by her boss’ actions.
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