Local woman lays sexual harassment charges against boss

2018-10-15 10:36

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Enough is enough.

After 20 long years of allegedly enduring sexual harassment from her boss, a local woman has finally broken her silence.

Not only has the 51-year-old woman laid a criminal charge against the head of a major Pietermaritzburg office equipment outlet, but she has also issued summons against him.

She is claiming R5 million in damages from him. This is for causing her to become an emotional wreck and for the loss of income due to her resignation. The man is not being named because by law the names of alleged sexual offenders cannot be published until after they have pleaded to charges. Her civil claim lodged in the Pietermaritzburg high court vividly details the man’s alleged conduct towards her. She claims it began when she started working at the company. Among the allegations is that he:

• made sexually explicit suggestions to her;

• repeatedly contravened the Sexual Offences and Related Matters Amendment Act and abused his power over her;

• pinched her nipples;

• forced her to place herself on his lap;

• repeatedly touched her inappropriately;

• lightly punched her face;

• made suggestions to her of how he would like to have sexual intercourse with her, describing sexual positions;

• treated her with disrespect and as a sexual toy.

The woman was too afraid to say anything because the man was in a position of authority, according to the court papers. She alleges he abused his position to the extent that it inhibited her from indicating to anybody her unwillingness and her resistance to the sexual advances and sexual acts that had been perpetrated on her. The papers say when she could no longer take the abuse she decided to do something.

On May 18, when the man called her into his office to discuss work, she took her cellphone with her. Again she was sexually harassed and this time she recorded the verbal suggestions.

She made this a habit and continued to record the sexually explicit suggestions every time he made them. His conduct became unbearable and he refused to stop, said the claim.

The woman is allegedly close to a nervous breakdown and is currently on medication as a direct result of his conduct over the years. The claim added she has been on medication since 2014 to date. These include anti-depressants, sleeping tablets and anxiety tablets.

She “endured extreme hardship at the hands” of the man and has had to work under conditions that were “totally unbearable” causing her severe psychological, emotional and physical trauma.

 She eventually resigned in June 2018. She is unable to obtain employment due to her age and has suffered a loss of earnings.

As a consequence of his “wrongful, malicious and unlawful conduct”, the woman’s dignity and reputation have been impaired and she continues to suffer such impairment to her dignity and reputation and will continue to do so.

The woman is suffering from “severe psychological and emotional trauma and is now in need of psychological help to reintegrate into a normal relationship with another man”.

Attorney Anand Pillay, who is representing the man, said his client’s view is that she is trying to extort money from him. He denies the allegations.

 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  sexual harassment
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