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IT firm MD called worker 'fat bitch', tribunal hears

Unfair dismissal claim

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A Bristol unfair dismissal tribunal has heard how the MD of a Wiltshire IT firm allegedly subjected a female telesales worker to "daily sexual torment", UK tabloid the Mirror reports.

Maria Maniglia, 40, claimed that Robert Clarke of Fokus Systems, based in Box, called her a "fat, fiery Sicilian bitch", "buried his head in her breasts, hit her bottom and put hardcore porn on her office computer". She said: "He would call himself the lord and master and called people his bitches. I tolerated it every day."

Maniglia was fired after walking out following an argument concerning personal calls. She said Clarke told her: "If you don't stop using that phone your bitch-ass will be fired - bitch."

Another former telesales worker, 23-year-old Emma Dodds, told the tribunal that Clarke commented on her figure after she became pregnant, and "made lewd comments" including asking her if she'd had sex that night. She also alleged that Clarke had "once opened a toilet door while she was using it". She claims she was sacked when she "refused to join in with a dirty phone call from her boss".

Clarke denied downloading porn and "inappropriate touching", but said: "I admit sometimes calling people bitches. It was just harmless office banter."

The tribunal will rule on Maniglia's claim of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal next month. ®

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