Tribunal rejects male cleaner's sex harassment claim: Worker tells of female manager's advances

A MALE cleaner who claimed to have been gradually deprived of his livelihood after rejecting the sexual advances of a female senior manager 'old enough to be his mother' was not dismissed for sexual reasons, a London industrial tribunal concluded yesterday.

Lee Nugent, 24, of Heston, west London, said Joy Evans, an operations manager for Initial Cleaning Services, one of the country's largest contract cleaners, squeezed his thigh and made suggestive remarks in an ICS van when they went to inspect some public lavatories he cleaned for Spelthorne Borough Council in August 1992.

He told the north London tribunal that Mrs Evans, a middle-aged divorcee, of Brentford, west London, started 'telling me how lonely she was and that she used to have a young lover. She used to wake up in the night scared and had bought herself a white polar bear for something to hold but you cannot beat the real thing'.

Later, as they were about to get out of the van to inspect another public convenience, Mr Nugent said Mrs Evans put her hand on top of his thigh and asked him if he found her attractive. 'I laughed out loud with embarrassment. I said 'You are old enough to be my mother. You should not say this'.'

After visiting a third public lavatory Mr Nugent said that Mrs Evans asked him about his hobbies and said she liked to go swimming but had no one to go with. 'It felt to me as though she was waiting for me to offer to take her swimming and start some kind of thing up.'

He was surprised, but did not reply, nor make an immediate complaint to the company because he was too embarrassed, the tribunal was told.

Mrs Evans denied touching Mr Nugent's thigh, or making suggestive remarks to him. She said he was 'quite a good cleaner' but the number of hours he was working daily meant he could not do his jobs properly.

Mr Nugent earned pounds 273 per week gross, starting work at 6am. He spent most of his 17-hour day cleaning the lavatories and then working at night as a cleaner on four office cleaning contracts.

A week later Mrs Evans took one of his contracts away, saying that he had too many evening jobs and the quality of his work was suffering. A couple of weeks after this, he said, she took another contract away from him claiming that his cleaning work was 'rotten'. He was offered another cleaning job, but it did not pay well enough, Mr Nugent told the tribunal.

Subsequently, another contract ended because the company moved buildings and Mr Nugent said the fourth contract was taken away from him by an area manager who said the quality of his cleaning was not good enough.

Mr Nugent said yesterday that in removing his contracts he thought Mrs Evans was exercising a 'personal grudge' against him. He said there had been no complaints from clients about the quality of his work despite his long working hours.

Lynn Thomas, for ICS, said Mr Nugent had 'completely fabricated' his account to extract compensation from the company.

Quinton Barry, the tribunal's chairman, said that although a conversation which Mr Nugent was entitled to regard as suggestive did take place, it was an isolated incident and would not, without further incidents, be enough to establish that sexual discrimination had taken place.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Neil Warnock
football'New' manager for Crystal Palace
peopleGerman paper published pictures of 18-month-old daughter
Arts and Entertainment
'A voice untroubled by time': Kate Bush
musicKate Bush set to re-enter album charts after first conerts in 35 years
Angel Di Maria poses with Louis van Gaal after signing for Manchester United
Arts and Entertainment
BBC series 'Sherlock' scooped a hat-trick of awards on the night. Benedict Cumberbatch received the award for Actor, Miniseries or Movie ('Sherlock: His Last Vow') while Martin Freeman won the award for Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie. Neither actor was present to collect their awards
Life and Style
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Oracle DBA (Database Administrator, 10g, 11g, PL/SQL)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + £5k shift allowance, 12% bonus, benefits: Clearwat...

Cover Supervisor

£45 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunities for Cover Sup...

IT Teacher September strt with view to permanent post

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: IT...

Qualified Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: This independent Nursery is looking fo...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis