Thursday 27 October 2016

Businesswoman accused of making up 'sexism and misogyny' claims for media attention

Emma Clark

Published 07/10/2015 | 15:22

Shreya Ukil outside Victory House in London, as a tribunal heard that the senior businesswoman was told by her IT firm boss that she looked like a
Shreya Ukil outside Victory House in London, as a tribunal heard that the senior businesswoman was told by her IT firm boss that she looked like a "seductive dancer from Indian mythology" who "had the curves of a Russian body and big breasts". PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday October 6, 2015. Shreya claimed she was pressurised into having a sexual relationship by Manoj Punja, a senior colleague at the IT and outsourcing firm Wipro, before being forced out and sacked after the company refused her resignation. See PA story Tribunal IT. Photo credit should read: Dominic Harris/PA Wire

A £140,000-a-year business manager who said she struggled to cope with a "culture of sexism and misogyny" has been accused of making up the allegations for media attention.

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Shreya Ukil, 40, claims she received less pay than her male colleagues and was pressurised into having a sexual relationship with her boss before being forced out of IT and outsourcing firm Wipro - the technology partner of Chelsea Football Club.

But her claims that women were overlooked for promotions, subject to sexist language and considered too emotional were today dismissed by the company at an employment tribunal.

Jane Mulcahy QC, representing Wipro, told Central London Employment Tribunal: "None of this has ever been mentioned before your witness statement.

"The sole purpose of you putting this sort of material in your witness statement was in order to obtain press attention. The press are aware of this because your team told them about it."

She added: "It's completely misdirected by you, the nature of the culture at Wipro, isn't it? It's completely not true. It's simply not correct how you portray the company in your witness statement."

Ms Ukil said the claim for press attention was "the most disgusting thing I've ever heard", insisting the culture was inherently against women and their success.

The tribunal heard how Ms Ukil, from west London, repeatedly complained about her levels of pay and despite increases claims her final salary of £139,000 a year was still around £20,000 less than her comparative male colleagues.

In a witness statement Ms Ukil, who managed multi-million pound sales deals, said she had suffered because she is "a woman, an Indian woman and one who submitted to the advances of a senior, powerful man in the company with friends at the top".

Ms Ukil told the tribunal today: "The culture at Wipro was competitive. You don't allow women to get ahead of you.

"Every time I tried doing better, going in to a new role, it's been sliced in half or parts of the role were given away."

Ms Ukil, who is represented at the tribunal by Slater and Gordon, is bringing a case against Wipro for sex and race discrimination, victimisation, sexual harassment, unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal.

The business development leader, who moved from the company's Bangalore office to join the European sales team in London in 2010, suffered a breakdown last year before resigning from the company, however she said her resignation was denied and she was sacked a week later.

Read more here: 'IT boss said I looked like a seductive dancer', businesswoman tells employment tribunal  

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