Court: Not harassment, just trying his luck

2014-06-05 08:33

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Johannesburg - The Cape Town Labour Court has ruled against a disciplinary inquiry that found a man guilty of sexual harassment after he asked a business colleague if she wanted a "lover for the night", The Times reported on Thursday.

Campbell Scientific Africa installation manager Adrian Simmers was dismissed after the inquiry found him guilty of sexual harassment, unprofessional conduct, and bringing the company into disrepute.

In 2012, he went to Botswana on a work trip and was joined by his colleague Frederick le Roux and environmental consultant Catherine Markides, the newspaper reported.

After a group dinner, he asked Markides if she wanted a lover for the night and when she said no, he said: "If you change your mind during the night come to my room."

Judge Anton Steenkamp said Simmers backed off and did not touch Markides and they were not co-employees. He said it was a first time offence.

"It was not a demand for sex. In blunt terms, he was trying his luck," the court ruled.

"It was inappropriate but it did not justify dismissal."

Simmers should be issued with a final written warning valid for a year, the court ordered.

The Times reported that Campbell Scientific Africa would appeal the ruling.

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