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Constructive Dismissal: Worker Treated As 'Sex Object' Wins Case

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A former office worker at Cardiff-based chartered surveyors Ferrier Hart Thomas has won her case for , , and  before an employment tribunal in Wales.

Lizzy Bibby, 26, of Lisvane, Cardiff, accused director Andrew Ferrier, 61, of offering to "kit her out" at an Ann Summers sex shop, smacking her bottom, grabbing her waist and showing her transsexual pornography ().

She said: "I was being treated as a sex object and I found it very hard to get through the days.

"I was deeply upset by what went on, I felt violated.  Andrew Ferrier would often pinch my cheeks so I would try and face away from him when I saw him coming.  He once put his hands on my waist and his behaviour left me constantly on edge.

"The first incident happened not long after I started working there.  I was at my desk in the office and Mr. Ferrier said he was going to take me to Ann Summers to 'kit me out'.  I felt humiliated and embarrassed by what he had said.

"On another occasion I was looking in the filing cabinet and he smacked me on the bottom as he walked past me.  I told him not to do it and he replied, 'It's your fault for wearing tight trousers'."

She eventually resigned in April 2009 after 13 months working for the firm.

The reports Mr. Ferrier strenuously denied her claims.  He told the Cardiff hearing: "They are pure fantasy.

"They are malicious allegations with absolutely no substantiation.

"At no point did I ever grab her waist, grab her cheek or smack her on the bottom.  It is not the sort of thing I would do.

"The sexual harassment allegation is incomprehensible."

But the tribunal decided otherwise.  Its chairman Barry Clarke said: "The account given by the claimant is more likely to be what happened in this case.

"Mr. Ferrier didn't deliberately attempt to set up a hostile environment, but his behaviour did have that effect on Ms. Bibby.

"His actions could be regarded as arrogant at times."

Ms. Bibby released a statement in response to the verdict: "I am very pleased with the result of the tribunal.

"I just want to get on with my life now and put this behind me."

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