It wasn’t harassment for the Daily Telegraph to try to contact current and former employees of Arcadia Group and Top Shop/Top Man Limited, the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation ruled. The Telegraph was working on stories about “serious allegations of sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying in the workplace,” IPSO reported.
Arcadia Group was upset because the Telegraph‘s journalist had contacted “a number” of its staff at home or on their phones during the past year. While the company argued some of its employees were worried about how the paper got their contact information, the company said it wasn’t complaining on their behalf.
However, the Telegraph explained the attempts to interview employees was for accuracy reasons and providing opportunities to comment. Further, the Telegraph said it complied with anyone’s request for the paper not to contact them again.
The Telegraph also argued that the Arcadia Group may want to prevent it from speaking with staff and that it was currently “involved in litigation” with the company, according to IPSO.
IPSO dismissed the complaint, arguing that its press guidelines for harassment focus on individuals and not companies. “The Committee did not accept that it was possible for a corporate entity to experience the intrusive harm Clause 3 seeks to prevent,” IPSO ruled.
iMediaEthics has contacted both sides for more information on how many employees were contacted and the ongoing litigation referenced.