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Businesswoman claims compensation over 'sexy nurse' comments

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A West Midlands recruitment professional claimed her boss subjected her to a persistent campaign of sexual harassment, discrimination and victimisation at a Birmingham employment tribunal this week.

Debbie Smith, 49, earned £90,000 a year working for Pertemps recruitment group before she was allegedly forced to leave following a series of 'humiliating' sexist remarks by the company's chairman Tim Watts.

A married mother of three children, Ms Smith alleges that Mr Watts began making inappropriate comments the day she started working at the company in September 2008. She recalled how he responded when she said she'd known a fellow Pertemps employee as a child and he asked: "Were her breasts as big as that at school?"

"I was shocked and taken aback," Ms Smith told the tribunal. "I didn't say anything as I didn't want to be seen making trouble on my first day."

Ms Smith added that on every occasion she ran into Mr Watts "he took the opportunity to comment inappropriately."

"He once asked me to phone him before going for a shower, which I thought was wholly inappropriate.

"He also told me I looked like a sexy nurse. These were sexual comments which were degrading, humiliating and offensive. Those comments would not have been made if I was male."

Mr Watts, 61, has yet to give evidence, but denies all claims. The hearing continues.

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