The husband of a £90,000-a-year businesswoman who claims she was forced out of her job said he felt “repulsed” by a string of sexual remarks alleged to have been made by her former boss.
Mum-of-three Debbie Smith alleged at an employment tribunal that her boss Tim Watts, chief of Meridan-based recruitment specialists Pertemps Group, had made the comments while she was managing director of a Pertemps subsidiary company.
The 49-year-old, from Sutton Coldfield, is claiming sexual harassment, discrimination and victimisation between September 2008 and June 2009.
Ms Smith claims her former boss referred to her as a “sexy nurse” when she wore a white dress to work, and also asked her to “call him” when she took a the shower.
Andrew Pettingill, her husband of five years, said his wife had been through a “terrible experience”.
“The whole episode had made me really angry because I had a seen a change in my wife,” Mr Pettingill said in a statement which he read before the tribunal in Birmingham.
“Her confidence and self-esteem have been knocked. I found it utterly repulsive that another man could speak to my wife in the way that Tim Watts did.”
Mr Pettingill also said his wife had claimed Mr Watts had remarked that she could “get what she wanted” when she wore a short skirt to work in February last year.
Mr Pettingill, who also works as a managing director in the recruitment industry, said: “Debbie attended a meeting with the board and she was wearing a short skirt.
“Mr Watts made reference to the fact she was wearing a short skirt and said she could get anything she wanted that day.”
Ms Smith was asked to take a 50 per cent pay cut after her firm made losses of £200,000, and was then given three months notice, which would be cancelled if she could turn the losses around.
During cross-examination, Mr Pettingill said the he had not made reference in his statement to conversations he and his wife had had about her company’s financial worries because it was “irrelevant”.
“What was causing her the stress was the treatment by Mr Watts, not the economic climate,” he said.
Mr Watts, who denies all claims, is due to give evidence to the tribunal at a later date.