The chief executive of recruitment firm Pertemps dismissed allegations that he sexually harassed a former employee as “ridiculous”.
Tim Watts denied claims made by former employee Debbie Smith, 49, of Sutton Coldfield, as he gave evidence at a Birmingham tribunal yesterday.
Mrs Smith has claimed Mr Watts called her a “sexy nurse” and told her to phone him when she had a shower when she was managing director of a subsidiary of the firm between September 2008 and June last year.
She was made redundant from the £90,000-a-year post but brought a case against Mr Watts for sexual harassment, discrimination and victimisation.
But Mr Watts said Pertemps was built on family values and diversity.
“At Pertemps we don’t tolerate ‘isms’,” he said. “Racism, sexism, ageism or religiousism.
“I’m very passionate about this and treating people equally. It is ridiculous to suggest I would say anything that would demean or undermine her.
“I deny all these allegations against me, in particular violating her dignity and creating a hostile environment.”
Allegations levelled at Mr Watts include him introducing Mrs Smith to colleagues as “pretty” and joking about her bringing a sexual harassment claim against him to potential clients.
But he denied both claims.
“I didn’t make any sort of comment alleged by Debbie. It is inconceivable I would make such a comment in light of the company’s urgent need for new franchisees,” he said.
And he said a remark about Mrs Smith “looking the part” at a meeting with clients from the medical sector was a reference to her looking like a clinician, and not a sexy nurse.
“The allegation is a complete distortion of the truth.” he said, “I said she looked dressed for the part and by this I meant like a clinician, not a nurse, sexy or otherwise.”
The tribunal continues.