Woman Secretary Awarded £9,000 Damages for Sexist Abuse by Employer and Colleagues

by Gopalan on  February 19, 2009 at 10:40 AM Medico Legal News
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 Woman Secretary Awarded £9,000 Damages for Sexist Abuse by Employer and Colleagues
A woman secretary has been awarded £9,000 in damages in the UK for relentless sexist abuse by her employer and also colleagues.

It was a 'lads' culure' that prevailed in the plumbing company, she complained. Sarah Crosbie, 21, was the sole female employee and felt the heat all the time.

She was branded a 'bitch' and 'whore' by her employer and made to scrub the men's lavatories, though she had actually been appointed administrator for the Plumb Centre in Torquay. Sarah was ordered to clean the toilets and kitchens every day.

She was also continually threatened with the sack.

On one occasion Miss Crosbie was told to clean an overflowing male lavatory. When she refused, staff called her a 'silly cow.'

A relationship with a male colleague also ended after managers warned him that she would 'cry rape'.

An industrial tribunal heard that she was victimised by several male colleagues and her boss, Sam May.

Miss Crosbie told the hearing in Exeter that she was regularly called names by her co-workers and by May.

'He asked me to clean the toilets and the kitchens. He never asked anyone else to do it. He made me clean the dirty toilets,' she said.

'Sam called me a bitch and a whore and a silly cow. I was angry and upset and hurt within myself by being put through that abuse.'

She added: 'It was all part of a lads' culture. When I started a relationship with a colleague workmates warned him off me and said I might cry rape if he gave me a lift.

'When I raised a grievance and complained, I was told by a senior manager I should expect swearing in an all-male environment, which I disagreed with.

'I felt they were trying to get me rid of me. I was constantly being told I was going to be sacked and it all made me feel low and worried about going to work.'

Miss Crosbie worked at the plumbing firm for two years until April last year when she quit after being the only employee chosen as a possible candidate for redundancy, Daily Mail reported.

She said: 'I was getting grief from the staff and ignored when I needed help and I felt there were mind games being played with me. I was being dangled on a piece of string.

'There were times when I was at work when I just sat in the toilet and cried my eyes out. In the end it was affecting my health and I just felt I could not put myself through that grief.

'When I went into the job I was a bubbly, confident and outgoing person - now I'm not confident at all.'

The tribunal awarded her £9,000 in damages for sexual discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal.

The firm had claimed it treated her fairly and were in the middle of investigating her complaints when she resigned.

Bosses also denied victimising Sarah, and manager Mr May refuted her allegations of sexist bullying.

But a tribunal panel ruled she had been 'brave' to bring her grievances to the attention of the employer, and criticised the firm's lack of attention to her concerns.

Awarding her the damages, the panel ruled: 'She was systematically and continuously abused by her manager.'

Source: Medindia

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