Tribunal throws out CSA man's sexual harassment claim

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The Independent Online
A CHILD SUPPORT Agency manager's claims that he was sexually harassed by a female colleague were thrown out yesterday by an industrial tribunal that concluded his evidence was not credible.

After seven weeks of deliberations, the tribunal in Birmingham ruled that Stephen Davies, 39, had not suffered sexual discrimination at the hands of a woman who he claimed pestered him for sex.

The decision to reject Mr Davies's application was greeted with relief at the battle-weary CSA. He had taken on the agency because he argued it was vicariously liable for the alleged actions of Lynn Badger, 35, an executive officer at Mr Davies's office in Dudley, West Midlands.

A two-week hearing in May was told of a merry-go-round of office romances, sexual harassment, drunkenness and sexual misbehaviour, culminating in Mr Davies being accused of sexually harassing Mrs Badger - and his counter-charge that she harassed him.

He claimed she invited him to hotel rooms for sex, commented on the size of his penis, showered him with compliments and bought him skimpy briefs for his birthday. But a host of women from the CSA - who could not be named until today - testified that Mr Davies had sexually harassed them and he openly admitted to having had extramarital affairs.

The tribunal's report, issued yesterday by its chairman, Manuel Delgado, criticised Mr Davies, repeatedly rejecting his word in favour of Mrs Badger's, although it said her evidence was 'treated with caution'. It concluded: 'We do not find the applicant's evidence credible . . . . We conclude that the applicant has failed to satisfy us on the balance of probabilities that the respondent discriminated against him . . . . We find his case to be extremely weak.'

The CSA said the result vindicated its equal opportunities policy. Mr Davies, married with two children, said it proved that it was almost impossible for a man to accuse a woman of sexual harassment and be believed.

Mr Davies, sacked last March for 'management harassment' after being cleared of sexual harassment, said he would take a case of unfair dismissal to another industrial tribunal.

Davies interview, page 3

Living, page 18