Firm 'was wrong' to fire sex pest boss

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The Independent Online

A Spanish court has ordered a cultured-pearl manufacturer to reinstate a foreman fired for touching a female employee's bottom, saying his action did not constitute sexual harassment. The regional court in Majorca ordered the American-owned company, Majorica, to pay him £62,500 compensation.

A Spanish court has ordered a cultured-pearl manufacturer to reinstate a foreman fired for touching a female employee's bottom, saying his action did not constitute sexual harassment. The regional court in Majorca ordered the American-owned company, Majorica, to pay him £62,500 compensation.

The court described the behaviour of the man, who was not named, as "obscene, humiliating, repugnant and sanctionable", but ruled that the offence was not serious enough to constitute sexual harassment.

A female employee in her twenties told the court that her boss, described as in his mid-fifties, had approached her silently from behind when she was walking upstairs and began touching her bottom. When she turned and saw who it was, she said nothing "given his position in the company." She said he had previously showed her his car and said it was "ideal for sexual relations".

The company investigated the woman's complaint in July 1999, found them true and sacked him. The company's lawyer, representing the woman, has appealed to the Spanish Supreme Court.

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