High-flying female executive wins £420,000 payout after her ‘stalker’ married boss bombarded her with messages, including peach emojis, called her while drunk and suggested they move to another country to together to start a new business
- A female executive has successfully sued her employer for sexual harassment
- The woman’s boss bombarded her with text messages and tried to pursue her
- She has now been handed a £419,352 settlement following a tribunal in Leeds
- The married father ‘violated’ her and embarrassed her with his ‘overt advances’
A high-flying female executive has won £420,000 after her ‘stalker’ married boss bombarded her with messages, drunk dialed her and asked her to move abroad with him.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had her ‘dignity violated’ after her manager continued to pursue and harass her.
The senior boss would send her messages and inundate her with peach emojis over text – commonly used to refer to someone’s bottom.
He even asked her to move abroad with him so they could start a business together.
A high-flying female executive has won £420,000 after her ‘stalker’ married boss bombarded her with messages, drunk dialed her and asked her to move abroad with him
The employment tribunal hearing in Leeds revealed how her bosses ‘awkward’ romantic advances eventually led to harassment.
The woman, who earns £55,000 a year, had been hired as an executive in the transport industry. She quickly became ’embarrassed’ by her male boss’s ‘overt advances’, which she rebuffed.
As the situation continued, the woman decided to confide in a friend who described him as a ‘stalker’.
After raising the grievance with the company, the woman was then harassed by investigating officers expected to look into her experiences.
The woman has now been handed a £419,352 settlement after successfully suing the company for its sexist attitudes.
The company, which cannot be named, was sued for sexual harassment and victimisation at the employment tribunal.
The senior boss would send her messages and inundate her with peach emojis (pictured) over text – commonly used to refer to someone’s bottom
The hearing was told that the woman, who has a law degree, had begun working at the firm in the summer of 2019 before becoming friends with her boss making her second in command to his team.
But the boss, who has children and a wife, started ‘exploring a romantic possibility’ between the two by sending peach emojis over text.
He went on to send her kissing emojis, unsuccessfully asked her for one-on-one dinners and drunkenly called her.
The court also heard the man, who cannot be named, became ‘jealous’ of another male colleague’s interaction with her.
Initially the woman dismissed his advances ‘in good humour’ but eventually became ‘troubled’ by them.
In January 2020, she told her close friend ‘he’s behaving like a stalker’. That same month she was left ‘pulling the duvet over her head’ in embarrassment when she received a text from her boss where he ‘declared his feelings’.
The majority of compensation was awarded for loss of future and current earnings, as well as £24,000 for injury to feelings and £30,000 for psychiatric injury
Having seen her the previous evening, he texted her: ‘In case it’s not obvious I do really like you but I’m not the best at saying so. I’m cool if you don’t feel the same way and I wouldn’t want it to change anything, but just wanted to let you know.’
The next message followed: ‘Or we could forget I sent that text and carry on as usual?????’
The woman handed in her resignation following a pay dispute. She then went onto withdraw the resignation, but the company refused it.
In a grievance, she said the pay rise hadn’t been accepted because she rejected her boss. The grievance was then dismissed, accepting the manager’s account – something the tribunal viewed as ‘seeking to defend a sexual harassment case’.
The tribunal ruled that the firm had aligned itself on the side of her boss. The woman now suffers from PTSD symptoms, anxiety and depression as a result of the sexual harassment and victimisation.
Employment Judge Joanna Wade said investigating bosses had ‘perpetrated a stereotype’ of the woman as a ‘scheming femme fatale’ who had only complained because she had not been given her ‘unreasonable salary demands’.
Judge Wade said: ‘It is a very rare case where there are original allegations of harassment or discrimination, and a grievance or appeal process is also found to be discriminatory or harassing, rather than simply unreasonable or poor.
‘[The company’s] harassment of [the woman] caused her a significant and debilitating psychiatric condition.’
On the impact it has had on the woman, Judge Wade added: ‘The condition is anxiety disorder with depression and PTSD symptoms. The PTSD symptoms were significant and severe at the point that they were measured in November 2021.
‘She remains unable to work and to do ordinary things; she remains unable to tell her parents or family or community what has happened; she is living a fiction that she remains working from her bedroom, when in truth she is unable to get out of bed at times.’
The woman’s claims against the firm – sex harassment and victimisation – succeeded.
Her complaint of sex harassment against her boss failed because she raised it too late The judge said if the claim was raised in time, then some of the conduct would have been found to have been harassment.
The majority of compensation was awarded for loss of future and current earnings, as well as £24,000 for injury to feelings and £30,000 for psychiatric injury.
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