A trainee recruitment consultant was driven from her job after being subjected to a litany of questions about her sex life – including an enquiry from her company’s Salesman of the Year about whether she had ever been “dogging”.
When Samantha Bell, 23, tried to ask the same man a work-related question he gazed at her breasts and suggested he touch them.
Miss Bell, from Hednesford, near Cannock, Staffs, felt so intimidated that she dreaded going to work.
Yesterday, after winning a sexual harassment case against her former employers, Proactive Personnel, of Cannock, she said: “Working in that office was like going back to the 1970s.
“I used to be physically sick before I went to work because I was so afraid of the abuse I’d receive and the awful things I’d have to listen to.”
Miss Bell joined Proactive last May and fled the company 10 weeks later.
An employment tribunal heard how the abuse she suffered from male colleagues ranged from the brushing back of her hair and smelling of her neck to x-rated questions on sex.
All of it was completely unwanted and unwarranted.
Although the harassment was meted out by only two members of staff, James Plant and Paul Allport, the company’s management allegedly failed to react.
Mr Plant made a lewd comment when Miss Bell bent over in front of him.
In another incident Mr Allport, the company’s Salesman of the Year, was said to have swept her hair from her face, sniffed her neck and whispered “I’m horny. Ever been dogging?”
When his victim enquired whether she could ask a work-related question, he gazed at her breasts and said she could do so if he could touch them.
The company had denied the allegations and insisted there was no evidence to suggest Miss Bell was frightened of going to work. Managers have disciplined neither Mr Allport nor Mr Plant.
The tribunal, held in Shrewsbury, awarded Miss Bell £6,500 compensation for sexual harassment.
It said in its ruling: “Some of the comments were so sexualised and crude we found it hard to believe anyone could not be offended by them. We found the claimant to be credible.”
Miss Bell said: “It was never about the money; it was about showing you can’t treat people that way any more. I am very disappointed that Mr Allport and Mr Plant have not been disciplined.”
Article courtesy of the Daily Telegraph