Pertemps chairman Tim Watts has been awarded a record £100,000 costs after winning a sexual harassment case.
Midland multi-millionaire Mr Watts won his case against former Pertemps executive Debbie Smith, who had accused him of “degrading, humiliating and offensive” remarks.
The businessman has now been awarded the record sum after the Birmingham tribunal accepted Mr Watts’s assertion that the accusations were a “pack of lies.”
Debbie Smith has agreed to pay £100,000. Mr Watts had initially claimed £250,000 but settled for less rather than force his former employee into bankruptcy.
Mr Watts jumped to the defence of women bosses. “I have been a great advocate of female executives for the last 40 years – the Pertemps group employs more female executives than anybody else.
“They have more attention to detail. We are better at strategic planning but when it comes to detail I would rather be in the hands of a female executive than a male any day, and that includes myself.”
Mr Watts said he had been aware he may have bankrupted her if the tribunal had awarded an even larger payout.
He said: “She said to the court that the maximum she could pay was £100,000 and if the court ordered more than that, she would be declared bankrupt, and I didn’t want that.’’
Ms Smith, aged 49, from Sutton Coldfield, was dismissed as a £90,000-a-year managing director of a Pertemps subsidiary company in June 2009, after the franchising business made a loss of £250,000.
She claimed Mr Watts had called her a “sexy nurse” and made a reference to a colleague’s breasts.
Mr Watts called for widespread reform of the employment tribunal system and said companies were often seen as guilty until proved innocent.