Secretary wins insults settlement

A secretary who accused her bosses of calling her "slapper number one" and her colleague "slapper number two" on the office loudspeaker won a settlement out of court today.

Rosemary McDermott, 26, who endured months of sexual harassment at the hands of her managers at Lambeth Council-funded Drake Parking, was awarded an undisclosed sum in compensation.

Managers John Brown and Bob Davis groped the secretaries, made lewd comments about their breasts and sacked Miss McDermott on the spot when they learned she was looking for another job, an industrial tribunal was told.

Miss McDermott told Croydon Industrial Tribunal: "I walked round to pick up a paper from Mr Davies's desk and he pulled me onto his lap.

"Another time I was on the phone talking to a customer and he came in front of the desk, put something in the in-tray and put his hand on his groin and pretended to pull his zip up and down in front of me." She added: "I really thought it was my fault at first that they were doing this to me and that I was leading them on in some way."

Counsel for Miss McDermott said the managers made sexist comments about customers who came into the firm's office for parking permits.

The pair made a sandwich of another secretary, Kathy Davis, and rubbed themselves up against her in the office, counsel said. "If a woman member of the public came in to get a permit one would turn round and go 'She's nice, isn't she?' And the other would say 'Yeah, I'd give her one', and so on."

In the event, Miss Davis gave evidence for the firm; both she and the managers denied the allegations and claimed Miss McDermott was unhappy with her work at the firm and had herself made sexual advances to the men.