Wednesday 21 August 2019

Victim of sex pest shop manager wins €40,000 payout for harassment

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

A shop assistant who endured six months of daily sexual harassment, including being called "thunder tits" by her assistant manager, has been awarded €40,000.

The sum is the maximum the woman, who was also physically assaulted, could receive under the Employment Equality Act for sexual harassment.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudication officer Marian Duffy, who made the award, said it was applicable "given the inexplicable failure of management to prevent the discriminatory treatment".

She pointed to the serious nature of the discriminatory treatment the worker was subjected to over a period of six months.

This included being physically assaulted a number of times.

Ms Duffy said the trauma for the worker "of recalling these events was still evident on the day of the hearing, a matter which I also considered in assessing the amount of redress".

"I found the evidence of the complainant very credible and the respondent did not call any evidence to contradict the complainant's version of events," Ms Duffy added.

As a result of the daily sexual harassment, the woman went on certified medical leave in April 2018 and was prescribed anti-depressant medication.

The part-time worker, who was paid €9.35 an hour, did not return to work before resigning in November 2018.

The woman had told the hearing that after she returned to work after maternity leave in November 2017, she was subjected to sexual comments from an assistant manager on a regular basis.

She alleged that the assistant manager stopped calling her by her name and called her "big tits" and later on "thunder tits". The individual also called her other sexually offensive names.

He called her a 'thick bitch', made sexually explicit gestures towards her, made offensive comments about her breasts, asked her to engage in lewd acts and suggested that she provide sexual favours for him in return for keeping her job.

The complainant said she took precautions to avoid the assistant manager hitting her and wore baggy clothes, but this elicited more sexually offensive comments from him.

The worker said she made a formal complaint to the human resources department of the company at the end of April 2018 but alleged she was subject to harassment by other staff members because she had made a complaint.

As part of her order, Ms Duffy directed a revised anti-bullying and harassment policy be given to all the retailer's staff and management.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News