Employment Law – Victim of sexual harassment awarded £13,000 compensation
A 21-year-old woman who says she was dismissed after rejecting sexual advances from her boss has been awarded £13,000 in compensation.
Elizabeth Cowhig worked for Digital Maintenance Ltd in Kirkby. She claimed that during her five months’ employment there, sales manager Owen Kennard would often approach her and rub her shoulders or kiss her on the forehead.
On one occasion he slapped her on the bottom and said: “Sorry, I couldn’t resist that.” She said he also referred to her as “sexy” and invited her to spend a night with him at a hotel.
Mr Kennard sacked her in January 2012 saying that her work wasn’t good enough. Ms Cowhig claimed she had been dismissed because she had rejected his advances.
Mr Kennard and the company denied there had been any unlawful discrimination.
The Employment Tribunal in Liverpool found in favour of Ms Cowhig. In giving the tribunal’s decision, Judge Dawn Shotter said: “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.”
Ms Cowhig was awarded £13,000 damages for unlawful sexual discrimination and harassment.
After the hearing, Ms Cowhig told the Liverpool Echo that she was relieved it was all over. She said: “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.”
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