Executive 'forced out of job by female boss he spurned'
A female executive forced a male colleague out of his City job after he refused her sexual advances, an employment tribunal has heard.
David Ashbrooke, 59, claimed his American boss, Elizabeth Lestan, pestered him for sex during a taxi ride after a drunken night out at a London club.
Mr Ashbrooke, who had been due to marry three months later, said he turned her down, saying: "Look Liz, I wouldn't fuck you, even if my job depended on it."
Mr Ashbrooke is seeking £387,000 compensation for sex discrimination on the grounds of sexual harassment, constructive dismissal and victimisation from insurance giant Zurich Global Energy, where Ms Leston was formerly head of The Risk Engineering Team.
Mr Ashbrooke, a father of two, told the Central London employment tribunal that he was head-hunted to join the UK office of Zurich in January 2003. Once he rejected Ms Leston's advances in March 2003 she set out to hound him from his £60,000-a-year post inspecting off-shore oil and gas platforms. He resigned, suffering from stress in December last year.
Mr Ashbrooke told the tribunal that within months of his joining Zurich, Ms Lestan, who is in her forties, invited him to stay with her during a business trip to the United States. He said: "She then added that she tended to work late and get up early and frequently wandered around the house naked.
"Her tone was flirtatious. She said 'I don't expect that you will mind that - the old guy across the street doesn't seem to mind'."
Mr Ashbrooke, who was due to wed his fiancée in June 2003, said he never considered taking Ms Lestan - who was single - up on her offer.
Mr Ashbrooke said that during a night out inMarch 2003, Ms Lestan had become embarrassing after downing wine at the Reform Club. It was in the minicab afterwards that Ms Lestan allegedly asked Mr Ashbrooke: "Do you want to stay with me in town tonight at my hotel? We can get some more wine and have some fun."
After Mr Ashbrooke turned her down Ms Lestan allegedly said "Well fuck you then", and slammed the cab door and walked off.
Mr Ashbrooke said his fiancee was shocked to hear of the incident and warned him "to be careful as there was nothing worse than a woman scorned".
After that, he said, his boss went out of her way to pick on him. He said she interfered with a presentation he gave in Las Vegas in June 2003 and tried to elicit criticism from clients about reports he had written. His formal complaints to Zurich chiefs were dismissed at grievance hearings.
James Laddie, for Zurich, said Mr Ashbrooke had invented the incidents to boost his earnings as he neared retirement. Mr Laddie said: "You have known at all times you were going to be leaving Zurich no later than your 60th birthday."
Mr Ashbrooke denied this and said he had intended to work until he was 65 but due to what had happened he had been unable to find further employment.
His loss of earnings was based on a calculation he would have worked until 65, he said.
Zurich and Ms Leston strongly deny the claims.
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