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10 November 2010
NEWS - Will Sexual Harrassment Ever End? UK Sales manager 'put female colleague over his knee and spanked her'
A sales manager chased a female colleague around the office, put her across his knee and spanked her as well as encouraging other women to grab his genitals.
Peter Smith also sat female staff on his knee and looked at sex toys and blow up dolls on the internet, an employment tribunal was told.
Mr Smith and some of his colleagues are accused of bullying and and harassing former sales executive Angelina Ashby who worked for a marine supplies firm.
Sexual harassment: Angelina Ashby says she suffered at the hands of boss Pete Smith from marine supplies firm Cathelco
Miss Ashby, 40, told the Sheffield tribunal she was ostracised by staff for two years who teased her, talked about her in derogatory way, sent emails about and excluded her from office banter.
She also claimed they drew insulting cartoons about her weight which drove her to taking anti-depressants.
Miss Ashby, from Chesterfield, started working for the firm in June 2003 as a sales executive for Cathelco.
She said problems began in September 2006 when Mr Smith became her sales manager.
She said: 'I was subjected to a continuous course of mistreatment.
'A few days after my formal grievance was submitted Laura Holland, a sales administrator was chased round the office by Pete Smith, who then proceeded to put her over his knee and spank her.'
Her complaint was investigated by bosses but she resigned in October 2008. Miss Ashby said: 'Peter Smith would often make me feel uncomfortable.
'On one occasion he took his time to view sex toys, such as blow up dolls on the internet.
'He was more than aware I could see his screen as I sat directly behind and seemed to take his time viewing the website.'
Miss Ashby added: 'Pete Smith also used to sit female staff on his knee and stroke their hair and he would stand behind their chairs to do the same. I found it disconcerting and uncomfortable.'
She claimed Mr Smith also 'successfully encouraged' female staff to feel his genitals.
She is claiming constructive dismissal, sexual discrimination and pay discrimination against the firm, which supplies products to the marine industry to prevent metal corrosion and algae sticking to vessels.
The firm denies the allegations.
The tribunal was halted because one of the tribunal panel knew a witness. It will start again before a new panel next year.