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Real Estate Agent Claims Her Boss Sent Her Porn – Discrimination Claims

Real estate agent claims her boss sent her porn – Discrimination Claims

A real estate agent has commenced legal action against her former employer, claiming she was subjected to repeated sexual harassment and discrimination from her colleagues, including being sent pornographic images from the chief executive.

Summer Salvato, who worked at the Melbourne-based Sweeney Estate Agents, has lodged a claim in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal alleging the company breached the Equal Opportunity, Sex Discrimination and Fair Work acts.

She alleges her boss, Darren Dean, repeatedly made inappropriate comments about her breasts, including “are you sure you haven’t had your boobs done?” and “sorry, hard to focus, staring at your tits.”

She also alleges Mr Dean referred to women by their body parts when sending emails, calling them “lips” or “legs” rather than their first name.

Ms Salvato claims another director described her as having “the biggest balls in the group but they’re better because they’re on her chest”.

Ms Salvato, who was a director at the agent’s Yarraville office, also claims that following a work function at a racecourse, that she and Mr Dean exchanged text messages after she drove him home.

She alleges that Mr Dean told her that he was watching porn and suggested they have sex.

“I’m just getting started on Asian porn & I’ll be blunt SS it’s time we joined,” he allegedly wrote before sending an image of anal sex.  “This was my vision of end of evening event…”

Mr Dean denied the allegations and said they would be defended in court.

Mr Dean strenuously denies the allegations.

Miles Heffernan from Discrimination Claims said employees and employers should always be careful how they interact with each other.

“While the allegations in this particular case are yet to be tested in court, generally speaking, workers and their bosses should know that sexual harassment can happen outside the workplace – that means in bars and hotels, at conference centres, even in taxis, and most importantly it can also happen on social media and via text messages,” he said.

“Sexual harassment and sex discrimination are very serious, and can do enormous harm to victims – that’s why they are taken very seriously by the legal system.”

Ms Salvato claims she is now suffering post traumatic stress syndrome and can no longer work, saying the harassment caused panic attacks, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

“My life has been turned upside down because of this,” she said.

“I’ve lost everything that I worked incredibly hard to achieve.”

Mr Dean maintains his innocence.

“We are refuting all of the claims and we will be defending each and every one of them,” he said.

Mr Heffernan advised workers to always maintain professional relationships at work.

“The best rule of thumb is to keep sex completely out of the workplace – if it’s a joke with any sexual connotation, keep it to yourself, and you should never, ever, touch a colleague, otherwise you could find yourself defending a claim of sexual harassment,” he said.

Ms Salvato’s case is due for a directions hearing in the coming weeks.

To learn more about sexual harassment, click here.

If you believe you have been subjected to sexual harassment or sex discrimination, you may be entitled to compensation.  Please call our friendly staff at Discrimination Claims on 1300 853 837 for a confidential chat about your options.

For the latest workplace news and information, including issues surrounding sex discrimination and sexual harassment, please follow our main Industrial Relations Claims page on Facebook.

 

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