€30,000 compensation for ''pinch on the bottom''

€30,000 compensation for ''pinch on the bottom''

An employer has been ordered to pay €30,000 to a catering assistant who had her bottom pinched by a chef in a series of sexual harassment incidents involving the senior colleague.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudication officer said that as “an instance of sexual harassment, a pinch on the bottom may not be at the extreme end of the scale, but it is well within the definition of unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature”.

“It was also at the end of a continuum of incidents including a punch in the ribs, being sniffed at, constant unwanted touching and making offensive sexual remarks about the complainant to her husband,” she said.

The award represents 18 months of pay.

She stated the chef/manager pinched her bottom as she took a trolley from him to collect items from the restaurant service area.

The worker told the WRC that she stopped and pointed her finger at the chef/manager and said “I don’t want that”. She said the chef/manager laughed and said “sorry”.

The chef denied pinching the woman’s bottom and instead claimed he had a sanitiser bottle in his hand and that the bottle brushed against the woman. This was accepted by the employer after an investigation.