An IT worker has sued her boss after believing ‘XX’ in an email were kisses.
Project manager Karina Gasparova worked at the London office of essDOCS – a company which provides ‘paperless trade solutions’.
As with any company, emails and memos are exchanged daily.
However, Gasparova has taken drastic action against her boss – Aleksander Goulandris – after she deemed one message particularly inappropriate.
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She has sued him for s***al harassment after claiming his use of ‘xx’, ‘yy’, and ‘????’ in an email asking for more information was a coded way of asking for s***al relations from his employee.
The IT worker also adds that Goulandris renamed a work file with his initials ‘ajg’ – implying that it was an abbreviation of ‘A Jumbo Genital’.
Gasparova represented herself at an employment tribunal at London Central Court and she presented the email to the hearing as evidence.
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The email from Goulandris reads: “Can you please complete the following:
“The solution is 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.
The project manager presented further allegations which included her boss telling her to ‘have a nice evening’ – which Gasparova described as using ‘an alluring voice’.
She also adds that he deliberately touched her hand when reaching for the computer mouse.
Gasparova told the panel that her boss was ‘rich and powerful’ and that a ‘man in his position would be too clever’ to make any intimate moves obvious in front of her colleagues.
The panel also heard that she thought Goulandris wanted to have a s***al relationship with her – but she ‘rejected his advances’ which led to him treating her badly.
This included shouting at her, undermining her in meetings with clients and removing key elements of work.
Other claims she made include him turning down her offer for lunch because it didn’t involve s** and being invited to the same meeting 16 times.
The tribunal said Gasparova’s perception of events was ‘skewed’ and her claims were rejected.
They described the email as a ‘genuine request for information’.
Meanwhile, her other claims were viewed as not deliberate on Goulandris’ part nor did they imply any form of a desired s**ual relationship.
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Employment Judge Emma Burns said: “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.”
Gasparova was also ordered to pay £5,000 to essDOCS in costs following her failure to comply in time with parts of the tribunal procedures.
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