Case Review: Call Centre worker Wins £13k after sexual harassment

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Case Review: Call Centre worker Wins £13k after sexual harassment

A 21-year-old woman has won nearly £13,000 in damages after she brought a claim for sexual harassment against her former employers.

The employment tribunal in Liverpool heard that Elizabeth Cowhig had been bombarded with unwanted sexual harassment by her sales manager. When she refused his advances, she was dismissed.

The claimant began work in August 2011 at the company’s call centre and during the five months she worked there,the sales manager would come up behind her, rub her shoulders and kiss her on the forehead. He also slapped her bottom saying that he was unable to resist.

She was also invited to a hotel for the night, was referred to as “sexy” and told that she had the best legs in the company.

Miss Cowhig claimed that other female employees also had to endure similar advances.

In January 2012 the claimant was sacked on the grounds of poor performance, and the sales manager denied making advances or suggestive remarks.

The employment tribunal upheld Miss Cowhig’s sexual harassment claim. In a written judgment the panel stated: “On the balance of probability the tribunal is satisfied that Mr Kennard took the decision to dismiss the claimant because she had refused to accede to his sexual attention and had made it clear to him that it was unwanted.”

After the decision the claimant commented: “I feel relieved that it is all over. It was difficult and emotional going to court but I want my example to be used to encourage other women to come forward and complain.”

Miss Cowhig’s solicitor said: “This was particularly intimidating for a young women being harassed by someone old enough to be her father. I think the level of award highlights the seriousness of this case.”