Woman wins £26,000 payout from ‘boys’ club’ firm where staff viewed porn

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A SALES project manager who worked for a firm described as a “boys’ club” whose bosses rated potential female recruits by their bra size has won £26,000 compensation.

Angelina Ashby, 41, nicknamed “Angel” by colleagues, told an employment tribunal how married sales manager Peter Smith would view sex toys on the internet in the office.

The Sheffield tribunal rejected allegations that Mr Smith chased a woman round the office and spanked her on his knee while encouraging others to grab his genitals.

But Miss Ashby won her claim for sex discrimination and constructive dismissal against Chesterfield-based marine supplies company Cathelco.

In his judgment, employment judge Robert Little said the fact that men viewed pornography in the office highlighted an “underlying laddish culture” at the firm.

Miss Ashby started work for the company in June, 2003 and became a sales project manager in September, 2006 working on a Ministry of Defence aircraft carrier contract.

The single mother-of-one from Chesterfield said she was ostracised and her treatment by Mr Smith and other male members of the sales team drove her to take anti-depressants.

She said she found the constant jibes “demeaning” and they were designed to belittle her in front of other staff.

Cathelco denied all the allegations, claiming Miss Ashby was “unmanageable”. Managers described her as bad at listening, unhelpful, stubborn, an interferer and not a “team player”.

Miss Ashby, who was earning £13,500 a year although three male sales executives received £24,000 lost an equal pay claim after the tribunal decided they were “proactive” sales staff while she was not. The tribunal awarded her £26,061 made up of £15,000 for injury to feelings and £9,158 for loss of earnings as well as compensation for loss of statutory rights and interest.

Afterwards Miss Ashby said: “I’m pleased it’s all over. It was not about the money it is about justice. My father is footing my legal bill of £43,000 so he is still going to be out of pocket.”