News : Liverpool Call Centre Couple Sue Former Boss for Sexual Harrassment
Liverpool, UK, July 23, 2015 -- A couple who claim they were sexually harassed at work are suing their former employer.
Maxine Williams says while she was employed as a call centre worker at Liverpool firm M and R Marketing Limited she was "continually sexually harassed" by her team leader Danny Butterworth, who she alleges would also make comments about her sex life with partner and colleague Graham Healiss.
Her manager says Ms Williams never complained to him about this whilst she was working there though and that the couple were "counter productive" at work, kissing and flirting.
Ms Williams and Mr Healiss, from Liverpool, are suing both Garston-based M and R Marketing and manager Kevin O’Toole for sexual harassment and victimisation.
She told a hearing of Liverpool Employment Tribunal that Mr Butterworth used to massage her shoulders in front of the other staff "constantly".
Ms Williams said there was a board where the names of team members would be written when they handled a call claim over a certain amount.
She said Mr Butterworth called her up to the board and hugged her when she reached the call amount target.
Ms Williams, who cried while giving evidence, said: "He would embrace you in a hug and it made me feel horrible.
"Unfortunately one day I got four in a day and he made me do it four times. I made it clear I didn’t want to do it. I said no but he said that’s what we do in my team."
She added: "He wouldn’t just comment about my boobs, he’d comment on my bum, my sex life and my partner Graham’s private parts."
The hearing heard in August 2014 there was an argument involving Ms Williams, Mr Healiss and Mr Butterworth.
The following day Kevin O’Toole, a manager at the company, told Ms Williams she was being suspended for threatening a member of management, which she denied.
The day after that Mr Healiss was told he was being dismissed for talking about a private meeting with another member of staff.
In a witness statement prepared for the tribunal hearing Rachael Tansley, managing director of M and R Marketing, said other staff made complaints about Ms Williams’ "poor attitude".
Ms Tansley said Ms Williams did not make her aware of any sexual harassment problems whilst she was working at the call centre.
Manager Mr O’Toole said in his witness statement: "The claimants were counter productive, kissing, flirting, discussing their weekends together and displayed behaviour that was not becoming of an office environment. (Ms Williams) adopted a very arrogant stance over fellow employees as her ‘boyfriend was the boss’ and assumed a position of authority and a generally bad attitude."
He added: "At no time throughout (Ms Williams’) employment did she raise any issue with me regarding the conduct of Mr Butterworth."
The tribunal continues but has been adjourned until October.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, July 24, 2015