Exclusive: Associate marched off premises after partner tried to snog her
06 April 2018
A newly-qualfied solicitor was marched out of the office and put on unpaid leave when she told management that she was uncomfortable working with a partner who had sexually assaulted her.
In early 2014 the woman, 'Eve', who was in her 20s, had just begun her three month notice period at property specialists Maples Teesdale after accepting a job at a larger firm. As she left an event in London, a Maples Teesdale partner, 'Snoggo', who was approximately 40 years her senior and whom Eve regarded as a mentor, insisted they share a taxi. When they came to her stop, said sources, the 62-year-old lunged at her and tried to kiss her on the mouth, sticking out his tongue and making contact. She recoiled, fended Snoggo off and jumped out of the taxi, after which she called a friend in tears.
Eve told a female partner with whom she was close what had happened. The next day, said sources, Eve was called into a meeting with the managing partner and discovered that the female partner had told him about the incident even though Eve had not wanted the matter to be escalated. She was "mortified
", said a source, to discover that the managing partner had also told Snoggo. Eve worked in the same four-person practice as Snoggo, in the next door office.
||An NQ yesterday.
Snoggo, who denied the allegation, began sending in the team's trainee to give her work. Sources said that when Eve declined an offer from management to work in a different department, the managing partner refused to let her go on gardening leave and told her that he was not going to give her his money to go on holiday.
Eve had been permitted to take a colleague into the meetings with her, but on a day that her companion was away from the office she was called to see the partner in charge of HR. Sources said that he told her she was to leave the firm immediately. Her PC was shut down and her work phone was taken away and wiped, and she was forbidden from talking to anyone and escorted off the premises. Unable to afford to take three months' unpaid leave, she was helped by her new firm which agreed to begin her employment early.
Eve commenced proceedings against Maples Teesdale. In the firm's initial statement, said sources with knowledge of the proceedings, Snoggo admitted that he had tried to kiss Eve. He claimed, however, that Eve had flirted with him by once mentioning to him that she had attended a friend's birthday party which had a burlesque theme. The firm also presented photographs it had taken from Eve's Facebook account showing her smiling on a holiday she took after the incident, which it used to cast doubt on her account. When the firm failed to secure permission to hold the hearing in private, said sources, it offered to settle. Unable to afford to take the matter to the tribunal, Eve agreed and signed an NDA for a sum RollOnFriday understands was in the region of £10,000. Shortly afterwards, Snoggo retired from the firm.
Eve was unable to comment due to the terms of the NDA. The firm said it was unable to comment for the same reason.