A trainee associated with the National Grid has emerged victorious in her legal battle, securing a substantial compensation amounting to nearly £360,000 after an employment tribunal ruled in her favour due to sustained sexual harassment by her supervisor.

Colin Higgins, the manager in question, faced allegations of persistent sexual harassment towards Emma Tahir, a trainee project supervisor in her mid-twenties.

Among the incidents cited were instances where Higgins reportedly asked Tahir to remove her jumper and made physical advances towards her, even going so far as to propose marriage.

Tahir presented her case before an employment tribunal in Hull, where she recounted her experiences. She highlighted how Higgins, who was described as a mentor and was in his fifties, inundated her with unwarranted text messages and emails.

In these messages, he frequently expressed his attraction to her, referring to her as his “favourite” and openly expressing his romantic interest. An email even contained the proposal “marry me!” and, when met with silence, he asked her to reaffirm the statement.

Legal action against the National Grid

Additionally, Higgins questioned whether there would be a romantic relationship between them if he were younger, creating an uncomfortable and inappropriate work environment. Following an internal investigation into Higgins’ actions, he managed to retain his position. However, in 2021, Tahir decided to resign from her position and pursued legal action against the National Grid.

Her lawsuit included allegations of sexual harassment, victimisation, and wrongful constructive dismissal, asserting that the ordeal had significantly impacted her professional trajectory.

The employment tribunal ruled in favour of Tahir and awarded her a substantial compensation package of £357,000. The presiding judge, Joanna Wade, outlined the breakdown of the compensation, which included £40,000 designated for the emotional distress caused and an additional £10,000 for the psychological toll the situation took on Tahir.

Initially, Tahir, a holder of a law degree from Leeds University, had joined the National Grid through a construction development program, drawing a salary of £30,000. The National Grid, with a revenue of £18.26 billion the previous year and employing nearly 30,000 individuals, was established in 1925 by Lord Weir. The company’s purpose was to connect the UK’s most efficient power stations with consumers through a “national gridiron” infrastructure.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.