A Birmingham businesswomen’s claims of sexual harassment, discrimination and victimisation against her employer were dismissed as “scurrilous lies”, an employment tribunal has heard.
Debbie Smith, of Sutton Coldfield, has alleged that Pertemps chief executive Tim Watts said she looked like “a sexy nurse”, was “pretty” and told offensive jokes. She was employed as a managing director for subsidiary company CNA Executive, but was made redundant in June 2009.
During a hearing in Birmingham, Mrs Smith’s legal representative, Gemma Roberts, alleged that the proper procedures into her client’s allegations had not been followed.
She told John Smith, chairman of Network Brand Partnerships Ltd, who was responsible for recruiting Mrs Smith in 2008, that a human resources employee “spoke to Mr Watts and spoke to you, and then dismissed the grievance as being scurrilous and vexatious.”
Mr Smith said: “If the complaint had any substance it would be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure. If it’s a wild accusation then it wouldn’t.”
He told the hearing he was “empathetic, but not surprised” at the news Mrs Smith was to be offered a 50 per cent pay cut.
The tribunal heard that other employees at the company had taken pay cuts at the time, and Mr Smith denied that Mrs Smith had been replaced in her role.
Mr Smith said Mr Watts had referred to Mrs Smith being “attractive” during a long introduction to fellow employees when she joined the firm, in connection with her success.
Mr Watts has denied all claims.