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Secretary Awarded Damages for Sexual Harassment

A British employment tribunal ordered 47-year-old Peter Burlow to pay his 24-year-old secretary Emma Smith 38,915 pounds in damages for sexual harassment — one of the largest payments ever ordered in a sexual harassment case.

Smith alleged that Burlow, who is managing director of Software (Europe) in Lincoln, asked her if he could look up her skirt, repeatedly asked her for sex, and touched her breasts on two occasions. She said that Burlow’s harassment had caused her severe emotional damage and stated that she is currently undergoing stress counseling.

The employment tribunal agreed with Smith and concluded that Burlow was guilty of “oppressive harassment, a particularly bad case of its kind at the top end of seriousness.”

Burlow argued that Smith’s claims were false and characterized Ms. Smith as an opportunist who recognized an opportunity to profit from a sexual harassment claim. “She is a young girl who wants to make money. I am no angel but there was nothing more than office banter.”

Sources:

The Times of London - January 27, 1999

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