Home U.K Calling a woman 'good girl' in the office is sexual harassment, tribunal...

Calling a woman 'good girl' in the office is sexual harassment, tribunal rules


Judge Gary Tobin said “language evolves” and what was once deemed harmless is now “demeaning”. His warning came as Frances Fricker took her former £3billion employer to court over the remarks. Ms Fricker, now in her late thirties, was repeatedly called “good girl” by boss Giuseppe Ajroldi despite objecting to it.

The tribunal heard sales manager Mr Ajroldi’s behaviour “degraded and humiliated” accounts executive Ms Fricker. She reminded him that she was an “independent woman” and told him the phrase was “just a little condescending” – to which he replied: “Sorry, I didn’t want to offend an independent woman.”

It was said “controlling” Mr Ajroldi also mocked her weight by saying she looked “fat” in photos – and tried to kiss and touch her on a business trip. He apologised the following morning and she told him explicitly that his behaviour “needed to stop”.

When she complained to bosses at international business consultancy firm Gartner, she was told she had flirted back with Mr Ajroldi. The tribunal heard he was part of a “toxic” and male-dominated culture at the company, which has its European headquarters in Egham, Surrey, and an office in London.

After joining the staff in September 2017, Mr Ajroldi pestered Ms Fricker into changing the profile picture on her LinkedIn profile, telling her: “You are beautiful… for once trust your manager.”

Jokes about her being “fat” followed, and he regularly patronised her with the phrase “good girl”. The “unwanted sexual advances” occurred during a trip in 2018. Mr Ajroldi later left the company – but was not sacked – and Ms Fricker continued to be harassed by other male colleagues.

She resigned in October 2019, telling bosses their lack of response was something “I can no longer tolerate”.

Judge Tobin said: “Language evolves over time. Words and phrases that might once have seemed harmless are now regarded as racial, homophobic and sexist slurs.

“Referring to a woman in her late- 30s with a school-age child as a girl is demeaning.”

Ms Fricker’s claims of constructive unfair dismissal also succeeded at the Watford tribunal.

Compensation will be determined at a later date.

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