CSA man in harassment case offered his job back

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BA sacked Child Support Agency manager who failed in a high-profile attempt to prove he had been sexually harassed by a female subordinate has been offered his job back by the Civil Service.

Steve Davies, 40, who sprang to prominence last May when he showed an industrial tribunal a pair of skimpy underpants he claimed the woman had sent him, has been cleared of bullying staff by an internal appeals board.

He was sacked from his job as manager of the CSA in Dudley, West Midlands, last March for an allegedly abrasive management style. However, he had been suspended earlier after Lynn Badger, one of his staff, claimed he had sexually harassed her. He claimed she had sexually assaulted him and took the CSA to an industrial tribunal in Birmingham, accusing it of sexual discrimination in not saving him from the harassment.

During a two-week hearing that seriously damaged the CSA's image, the tribunal was told of a raft of alleged incidents involving Mr Davies and women from the agency. He was alleged to have had an affair with one, to have made sexual advances towards several others, to have tried to fondle the breasts of one and to have asked another for a "quick one" after a Christmas party at which he allegedly dropped his trousers.

He denied the allegations and claimed that Mrs Badger had harassed him, commenting on his clothes, the size of his penis and inviting him to her home when her husband was away.

Mr Davies lost his case, but at a Civil Service Appeal Board in London on Monday his appeal against dismissal was upheld.

The appeal board has yet to spell out its findings in full, but a letter sent to Mr Davies yesterday says: "The Civil Service Appeal Board have concluded that the agency's decision to dismiss you was unfair and have recommended that you be reinstated elsewhere in the Department of Social Security."

Mr Davies said he had been offered a job on the same grade but, having started his own fishing-tackle business, he had not decided whether to take it or to negotiate for compensation.

"It's a hell of a relief that it's over," he said. "It's just a shame that I had to be dragged through the mud . . . All the allegations made against me were untrue, the sexual harassment complaints never proceeded and my ability as a manager was never called into question.

"I see the result as a vindication of what I said all along. I needed this so that if I decide to take a job, I can walk in with my head held high."