Employee’s bottom smacked then given the sack

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A young woman has been awarded £13,000 (NZ$25,000) compensation for five months of sexual harassment from her boss.

An English employment tribunal heard that Elizabeth Cowhig had her bottom slapped in the office by her boss Owen Kennard, who then told her: “Sorry I couldn’t resist that”.

The Daily Mail reported that Kennard repeatedly made remarks about the 22 year old, who worked in the call centre for electronic sales firm Digital Maintenance Ltd, being “fit” and “sexy”.

The harassment is said to have begun shortly after Cowhig started work with Kennard “lingering” at her desk, rubbing her shoulders and kissing her forehead. He told her she had the “best legs” in the company and asked her to spend the night with him at a luxury hotel.

After five months with the company, in which Cowhig rejected all advances, she was fired without warning.

During the tribunal Kennard denied all the allegations and claimed Cowhig’s poor performance was behind her dismissal.

However, the tribunal found in Cowhig’s favour and in the written judgement concluded that Kennard had sacked her because she had refused to “accede to his sexual attention”.

Cowhig told The Daily Mail she was embarrassed and humiliated by Kennard’s behaviour but was afraid to complain at the time in case she lost her job.

“I kept telling him I wasn’t interested – he was old enough to be my father – but he refused to take no for an answer,” she said.

She added she was relieved the case was over with.

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