Woman loses £5k over sexual harassment claim after believing ‘xx’ in email from her boss were kisses

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An IT worker sued her boss for sexual harassment after believing ‘xx’ in email meant kisses.

An IT worker sued her boss for sexual harassment after believing some of his use of “xx” “yy” and his vague “????” in an email was a coded way of asking for sexual relations. Karina Gasparova also claimed that when her boss, Alexander Goulandris, renamed a work file with his initials ‘ajg’, it was an abbreviation of “A Jumbo Genital.”

Describing her perception of events as “skewed”, the employment tribunal at London Central court also rejected her claims, resulting in her having to pay £5,000 costs to her former company.

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Ms Gasparova was a project manager at the London-based essDOCS, a company that provides ‘paperless trade solutions’. She took the firm to the tribunal claiming sexual harassment, discrimination and unfair dismissal.

The tribunal heard she believed her superior, Mr Goulandris, was "trying to chat her up" when discussing business on work calls, and claimed he would stare at her. It was also claimed that email correspondence from Mr Goulandris insinuated a desire to "engage in sexual acts".

The hearing was told Ms Gasparova submitted a formal grievance letter in April 2021 against Mr Goulandris, but resigned after it was rejected. The tribunal panel also said her claims "demonstrated a tendency to make extraordinary allegations without evidence".

Ms Gasparova’s claims of sexual harassment, discrimination and unfair dismissal were rejected and she was ordered to pay £5,000 costs to essDOCS.

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