Compensation paid to woman after tribunal

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A WOMAN who worked for a firm described as a ‘boys’ club’ and whose bosses rated potential female recruits according to bra size has been awarded £26,000 in compensation.

Former saleswoman Angelina Ashby, aged 41, told an employment tribunal married sales manager Peter Smith, a married father-of-three, would view blow-up dolls and sex toys on the internet in the office.

She said derogatory remarks were made about her figure and weight.

Miss Ashby won her claim for sex discrimination and constructive dismissal against Chesterfield-based marine supplies company, Cathelco.

Employment tribunal judge Robert Little said men viewing pornography in the office highlighted an ‘underlying laddish culture’ at the firm.

Miss Ashby started work there in June 2003 and became a sales project manager working on a Ministry of Defence aircraft carrier contract.

The single mum-of-one said she was ostracised and her treatment by Mr Smith and other male members of the sales team drove her to take anti-depressants.

She said she found constant jibes ‘demeaning’ and felt they were designed to belittle her in front of other staff.

She told the tribunal: “There is something of a boys’ club atmosphere within Cathelco where females are deemed as being over emotional and sensitive if they have a complaint.

“During my time with Cathelco they had to clearly work twice as hard as the male members of staff to gain career or monetary progression.”

Former employee Alina Taylor, 37, said bosses would openly talk in front of sales staff about prospective female recruits and said ‘pretty girls would always get jobs at Cathelco’.

She added bosses ‘would often talk about the girl’s bra size as being criteria for employment’.

Cathelco denied all the allegations, claiming Miss Ashby was ‘unmanageable’.

Managers described her as bad at listening, unhelpful, stubborn, an interferer and not a ‘team player’.

They said she isolated herself by sitting in a corner of the office on her own.

Barry Warne, for Cathelco, denied there was any ‘campaign of mistreatment’ against her.

But Miss Ashby broke down twice as she told how the office ‘bullying’ had affected her health, her young son’s behaviour and caused her self-esteem.

She said: “I have been reduced to someone who is completely lacking in self-confidence and is depressed and no longer the vibrant person I was.”

Her father Marwan, 69, told the hearing: “She used to be an assertive, confident woman before Cathelco but they have in my opinion, destroyed her.”

Miss Ashby was awarded £26,061 made up of £15,000 for injury to feelings and £9,158 for loss of earnings and compensation for loss of statutory rights and interest.