Sales manager wins £ 5,000 in sexual harassment complaint
A sales manager who received derogatory remarks about a group chat on WhatsApp by senior colleagues has won £ 5,000 in a sexual harassment complaint.
Wioleta Gannon filed a lawsuit against security firm Verisure Services UK after she was told to “wear a bikini to increase sales” and called “my bitches” by colleagues in the discussion group.
In the group, which included six women, senior manager Dwayne Desilva told staff: “Listen guys! I have come to the conclusion that you are all my bitches.
The group was also sent a pornographic image of a naked woman by branch manager Robert Palmer, an east London court heard.
Wioleta Gannon has filed a lawsuit against Southend-on-Sea, Essex-based security firm Verisure Services UK after receiving derogatory remarks about a group chat on WhatsApp.
Mr Palmer, who was later sacked, also reportedly told Ms Gannon that she should “wear a bikini to increase sales.”
When Mrs. Gannon, who had a sales role and was based in the Southend-on-Sea, Essex office, complained to her boss Ricardo Almeida-Vaz – who was friends with Mr. Desilva – she was “victimized” and said she “made the conversation toxic”.
Mr Desilva and Mr Almeida-Vaz claimed the comment was just a “joke,” a court said.
But, now Ms Gannon has won a sexual harassment claim against the security company after hearing that there was “evidence of a disrespectful attitude towards women.”
The court heard that Mr Almeida-Vaz, in his twenties, had replaced Mr Palmer as Southend branch manager and added Mr Desilva – the Romford branch manager – to the WhatsApp chat from Southend-on-Sea as he had previously worked with him. and they were friends.
In March 2018, Mr. Almeida-Vaz claimed he asked Mr. Desilva to “provoke” his team with “traditional jokes to get everyone to make more sales” and “create a friendly rivalry” between branches.
Mr Desilva said in the 20-member group chat: “Listen guys! I have come to the conclusion that you are all my bitches. ‘
Mrs Gannon hit back, “Erhm … DWAYNE … Nobody is your b ***** s (sic).”
After Ms. Gannon complained to Mr. Almeida-Vaz, he told her she was “poisonous” and said, “If you are not happy… then find something else.”
Mr. Almeida-Vaz then kicked Ms. Gannon out of the cat.
In court, he said: “It was a very innocent comment that was meant to give the guys extra motivation to compete with [the Romford] plugged.’
The court heard that when Ms Gannon complained to her boss Ricardo Almeida-Vaz (pictured), she was told she was “making the conversation toxic”
He accused Ms Gannon of “taking the conversation out of context” and “making it mean”.
Labor judge Christiana Hyde determined that Mr. Desilva did not have the “purpose” of undermining Ms. Gannon’s dignity as it was an “improvised” comment, but ruled the remark and treatment Mr. Almeida-Vaz’s subsequent follow-up amounted to harassment.
Judge Hyde, however, said Mr. Desilva was “not an example of sensitivity”.
Judge Hyde added: “The court took into account that this was a predominantly male workplace, although there were other female members of staff.
“But there was a background of lack of sensitivity towards women and disrespect for the dignity of women.
“The dissemination of the pornographic image of Mr. Palmer, which at the time had not attracted any censorship from the majority of colleagues and, more importantly, senior male colleagues who had seen him at the time, or Mr. Barragan, the regional director, was proof of that.
“Mr. Barragan was also a member of the group when Mr. Desilva’s comment was made and, as far as the rest of the group can see, he made no negative comments about it.
“Other members of the group expressed their amusement at the use of the term which was largely unchallenged.
‘The court also took into account that it is a word [of which its] the original meaning was very gender specific.
“The court considered that it was perfectly reasonable that Ms. Gannon (…) took offense as sexual harassment.
“The court ruled that she ended up being criticized for expressing outrage at the comment, which clearly had derogatory connotations towards women.”
Ms Gannon, who resigned in April 2018, won her case for sexual harassment and victimization. Some of his allegations of sexual harassment were dismissed.
She was awarded £ 5,000 compensation for hurt feelings.