Sunday, September 03, 2006

Waitress Sacked For Refusing Sex With Boss Wins Payout

OLIVER COLEMAN
from scotsman.com news

A STUDENT sacked from her city waitressing job after refusing to take part in three-in-a-bed sex sessions with her boss has been awarded £8000 compensation.

Sylvia Wasilewska, 24, was awarded the payout after an Edinburgh employment tribunal ruled she had suffered sex discrimination at the hands of her Italian restaurant boss.

Ms Wasilewska told the hearing how she had continually been subjected to crude sexual advances by her boss Salvatore Consoli, who owns Trattoria Siciliana in Edinburgh's Union Street. She said on her second day at work Consoli, 60, grabbed her by the face and told her he wanted to sleep with her.

She told the tribunal the sexual harassment worsened, with her boss "constantly" pestering her, and said he had even offered her cash to sleep with him.

The waitress said his advances were so relentless that she secretly taped his seedy proposals as evidence for police.

And she claimed Consoli fired her from the Trattoria after she refused to join him in a threesome with another waitress.

Ms Wasilewska said: "This is a massive relief to have won - it has been a very hard time for me.

"But the most important thing is that Mr Consoli has got a punishment and hopefully he will never do the same thing again to other girls.

"My victory is a sign for other girls not to accept behaviour like that, particularly Eastern European girls. I have often heard of similar things happening to Polish girls in takeaways and restaurants and it has to stop.

"Mr Consoli only hired Eastern European girls - never Scottish or English ones. He thought we didn't know what to do when he acted like he did. He thought we were scared to speak out, but by taking him to the tribunal I have shown that I was not scared and I did know what to do."

Ms Wasilewska came to the UK in June 2005 to try to find summer work to help pay for her law degree at Warsaw University. She claimed she was initially frightened to go to the police because Consoli forced her to work illegally without paying National Insurance, but said she became so exasperated by the lurid demands that she was willing to risk arrest.

She said she wanted "strong evidence to take to the police," so she hid a tape recorder in her handbag.

On the tape, which was played to the tribunal, a man she claims is Consoli offers her sex and then says: "Do you like money? If you want money, it's not a problem."

Ms Wasilewska claimed that her boss offered her £150 for sex, and then upped the cash to £200 when she turned it down.

Ms Wasilewska finally left the job on August 15, 2005 and went to a lawyer for advice. She said: "It was a terrible experience - the worst experience of my life. When I smell cigars I feel sick because it reminds me of how he smelt when he stood next to me."

Consoli's solicitor, Christine McMenamin, claimed Ms Wasilewska had been sacked because she behaved inappropriately with staff and customers, often asking them for phone numbers. Ms McMenamin also alleged that Ms Wasilewska told Mr Consoli she was a lesbian, saying: "I'm a lesbian, but I have a problem - I want to have a baby and I might have to pay to be with a man."

Ms Wasilewska denied all the claims. In ruling in favour of Ms Wasilewska, the tribunal said it found Consoli's side of the story lacked credibility.

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