A 27-year-old female solicitor has told a London employment tribunal that the head of her law firm groped and secretly filmed her and fired her when she refused to have an affair.
The woman, who is engaged, has accused her 49-year-old married boss, named only as D, of sex discrimination and breach of contract. He denies the claims.
And what claims. The junior solicitor, whom RollOnFriday will call Z, described how D took her and some work colleagues to a live sex show in Amsterdam. "This was no PG rated sex show", she said, "this was full on live sex happening in front of us, which I don't think is appropriate for us to go watch". Daphne Romney QC, D's barrister, argued that "The idea originated with your colleagues".
Z claimed that D also assaulted her in his hotel room on the trip. In testimony which evoked Lord Lester's 'missed gearstick' defence, Z said "He came up to me at one point and put his hand on my chest, pretending he was checking my heartbeat, but his hand was over my left breast. All I could think was if I didn't get out of his room he's going to rape me".
She claimed D asked to see her passport photo before hiring her because "he was only interested in recruiting what he considered to be attractive young women".
"He told me, 'Put it this way: would I have any more kids with my wife? No. But I would have another baby with another woman. I am allowed two wives after all.'"
As well as taking her out in London to Annabel's, the Playboy Club and a Rita Ora concert, he also flew her first class to Dubai for a "work trip" at which he gave her VIP tickets to the Formula 1 race, and where they stayed at the 7* star Burj Al Arab hotel. Z said D secretly filmed her on his phone until she gave up and let him take photos of her sunbathing. "I was fed up of the constant groping and touching. He would take constant videos and photos all the time. I didn't want my photos taken but he kept insisting."
Asked why she sent him photos of herself in "see through dresses" after the trip, Z said D had been avoiding her and "that was a way for me to get confirmation from him that he was okay with me".
Romney read out WhatsApp messages between Z and a friend in which the junior solicitor said of her fiance, "Anyway I'm sick of him everyone wonders why I have such wandering eyes", and wrote, "I want to marry a millionaire, I bored with this lowlife, I'M BORED".
"I want my boyfriend to turn up outside my house in a Range Rover and buy me a puppy", she wrote, as well as a message about D after she was sacked which read "I want to f**k up his life".
The tribunal heard that Z was fired on her return from Dubai for falsifying work time-sheets and overcharging clients. "I admit I was struggling to fill in my timesheets but I never once overcharged a client", said Z, who described receiving "over the top" formal written warnings from D including one for failing to repay the firm £3 for a Land Registry certificate. "It's very telling", said Z, "that within two hours of me emailing him to make it clear I was not keen on returning to Dubai with him, he sacked me".