Boss ordered to pay £20k for sexually harassing PA
- Credit: Archant
A filmmaker from Ottery St Mary, who sexually harassed his personal assistant, has been ordered to pay her more than £20,000 for ‘violating her dignity’.
Anthony Negus, 70, bombarded his PA with lewd, sexual comments and wanted to take before and after photographs of her breast augmentation, an Exeter employment tribunal heard.
The tribunal was told that Charlotte Lee started work for Mr Negus in March 2012 and, within two months, he asked her to go to Spain with him to film an erotic movie – a request that she declined.
At the end of May 2012, Miss Lee asked for four days’ leave because she was having surgery, and after asking why she needed the time off, Mr Negus ‘pressurised her to disclose that she was having breast augmentation surgery’.
The 26-year-old PA said: “He informed me he wanted to do before and after photographs. He commented about a blue blazer I used to wear to work, informing me that he wanted to take before and after photos of me in my blue navy blazer with nothing underneath.
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“Mr Negus said my partner would ‘love it’. I told him I was not willing to do this.”
She told the tribunal that, between May and June 2012, he used to raise the subject twice a week, saying ‘I love you in that blazer’ and telling a sound engineer that her breast augmentation was ‘a vast improvement’.
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She said: “I was embarrassed about the comments he was making and the fact that often, when I entered the editing room, Mr Negus would have inappropriate material of a sexual/pornographic nature on the screen.
“I changed the clothes I wore to work to ensure that I did not wear anything fitted, which might prompt a comment from him.
“I started to feel that the only reason that Mr Negus had recruited me was because he thought I was attractive. He seemed to parade me in front of people when they came into the business. I found this embarrassing and undermining.”
She said, in July 2012, there was a hot day and Mr Negus came into the office and told her that this weather made him ‘horny’.
She ignored him as she thought he was trying to shock her, but he repeated it and it left her feeling ‘angry and sickened’.
She said she could not stand being in the same room as him after he made a comment after ‘watching the most delicious porn’ one night in the new year.
Miss Lee, from Exmouth, said she was suffering from anxiety and not being able to sleep and, in March 2013, she found him going through her holiday photographs on her laptop.
By April, she confronted Mr Negus about his behaviour just as she was leaving for a work trip to America, and when she came back, she was told she was being laid off because they could not afford to keep her on, even though the accounts were in good shape.
Mr Negus did not turn up for the tribunal hearing and the panel awarded Miss Lee a total of £20,900.
Tribunal judge, Judge Cresswell said that her complaints of harassment and discrimination were well founded and there was no real reason for her dismissal.
The panel said Mr Negus violated her dignity by reason of her sex.
Mr Negus’s firm, Prime Film Productions, was dissolved earlier this year.