A boss wrote ‘xx’ in an official email, and one of his employees sued him for sexual harassment on the basis of that ‘offensive’ mail, reports the BBC.
According to the news outlet, Karina Gasparova, who was an IT worker and a project manager at the London office of essDOCS, a company that provides “paperless trade solutions”, sued her boss Alexander Goulandris for these emails and took the firm to the employment tribunal, claiming sexual harassment, discrimination, and unfair dismissal.
This is the text of the email that Mr. Goulandris wrote to Karina, which was presented to the employment tribunal as evidence in the case:
“Can you please complete the following:
The solution us currently used by xx Agris companies and yy Barge lines in corn cargoes in south-north flows in the ???? waterways.
Also, can you remind me of what the balance of the rollout will be and the approx. timing.
When describing this email, Ms. Gasparova claimed that the letters “xx” stood for kisses, “yy” for sexual contact, and “????” was a veiled question requesting “when she would be ready” to do sexual acts.
Ms. Gasparova said before the tribunal’s judges that she believed her boss had yelled at her because he wanted a sexual relationship and she had “rejected his advances.”
However, the employment tribunal at London Central Court determined that Karina Gasparova’s perception of the events was “skewed” after hearing the entire case and reviewing the evidence she provided.
The Independent quoted Employment Judge Emma Burns as saying “Our primary reasons for rejecting her account of events were that we considered her perception of everyday events was skewed.
“She demonstrated a tendency to make extraordinary allegations without evidence, and she contradicted herself in a way that could not be attributable to a fallible memory.
“Ms Gasparova interpreted entirely innocent work-related conduct, some of it accidental, by Mr Goulandris as having a sinister intent.”
Additionally, Ms. Gasparova was ordered to pay essDOCS a substantial sum of 5,000 pounds (Rs. 513012).