Tuesday 20 February 2018

Woman awarded €54,000 in sexual harassment case

Kevin Keane

A PETROL station worker who was repeatedly sexually harassed and victimised by her boss has been awarded almost €54,000 in compensation.

Rossa McCosker subjected married mother Pauline Stone to a campaign of physical and verbal harassment which included obscene comments, sexual innuendo and inappropriate touching, the Equality Tribunal heard.

He also asked the woman's teenage son whether his mother was wearing "see-through" underwear.

Mr McCosker, from Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, has a previous conviction for assault and is identified in Equality Authority documents as a director of Maloney and Sons Ltd, which runs the petrol station in Ballyshannon.

Ms Stone said the incidents "completely knocked" her confidence and neither she nor her son were now working.

The harassment began in October 2007, just months after Mrs Stone started working in the supermarket and deli attached to the petrol station in Ballyshannon.

She was on an early morning shift when Mr McCosker remarked: "You are in fine form for a rub of the relic."

He claimed that he was referring to a "miraculous medal that a staff member had brought back from Lourdes", a claim dismissed by the Equality Tribunal.

At one stage Mrs Stone sought to have a local solicitor represent her in a meeting with her employers but was unable to do so as every solicitor she approached in Ballyshannon cited potential conflicts of interest owing to involvements with Mr McCosker, who is a prominent local businessman.

Following Mrs Stone's complaint, her hours were cut, as were those of her son. But the harassment did not stop and eventually Mrs Stone was forced to resign from her job.

The Equality Tribunal ordered that Mrs Stone's former employers pay her €26,988 in compensation.

It also ordered that the same amount be paid to Mrs Stone to compensate her for her victimisation and subsequent victimisatory dismissal.

Last night Mrs Stone said she was relieved the case was over.

Irish Independent

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