A worker sued her boss for sexual harassment, claiming that when he renamed a work file with his initials it was actually an abbreviation of 'A Jumbo Genital'
- A worker claimed that when her boss renamed a file with his initials it actually stood for "a Jumbo Genital."
- She sued the company for sexual harassment, which was rejected by an employment tribunal.
An IT worker who sued her boss for sexual harassment, claiming that when he renamed a work file with his initials it was actually an abbreviation of "A Jumbo Genital," has had most of her claims rejected by a court.
Karina Gasparova, who started working as a project manager at the London office of digital trade solutions business essDOCS in November 2019, accused Alexander Goulandris, one of the firm's cofounders and coheads, of sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
An employment tribunal in London rejected most of Gasparova's claims and ordered her to pay £5,000 (around $6,200) in costs to essDOCS. Gasparova represented herself in court.
Two of the main examples Gasparova gave to support her claims of sexual conduct and harassment centered around emails sent by Goulandris. The first, from May 2020, involved him naming a file "NGFA Steering Committee Presentation 05 May 2020 (ajg).pptx" and sending it to Gasparova and three other employees. The letters in brackets – "ajg" – are his initials, and Goulandris said he often added them to the name of documents he had reviewed.
Gasparova told the tribunal that after looking up the letter online she interpreted "ajg" as an abbreviation for "A Jumbo Genital," and said that if they were his initials he would have capitalized them.
Gasparova also listed an email sent by Goulandris in January 2021, which read:
"Can you please complete the following:
The solution us currently used by xx Agris companies and yy Barge lines in corn cargoes in south-north flows in the ???? waterways.
Also, can you remind me of what the balance of the rollout will be and the approx. timing.
Gasparova claimed that this constituted a sexual advance, alleging that the "xx" referred to kisses, the "yy" to sexual contact, and the "????" to a coded way of asking when she would be ready to engage in sexual acts.
"No-one other than the Claimant" would have interpreted the two emails as sexual advances, Judge E Burns wrote.
Gasparova claimed the first alleged incident of sexual harassment by Goulandris occurred just two weeks after she started at essDOCS, when he touched her leg with his leg under the table and stared at her during a meeting.
Other incidents she described to the tribunal included a claim that Goulandris touched her hand when he reached for her computer mouse, touched her elbow as he walked past her, and telling her to "have a nice evening" during a phone call in an "alluring voice."
Gasparova also claimed that during one meeting Goulandris shouted at her that he needed a date for when a project would be delivered, which she said she interpreted as him demanding her to tell him "the exact date when I would finally agree on sexual contact with him."
Gasparova claimed that because she rejected his sexual advances, Goulandris behaved badly towards her, including undermining her at work and shouting at her.
Gasparova also alleged during the grievance hearing that Goulandris had slept with multiple essDOCS employees, but said she had no factual basis for this.
After reporting her apparent harassment and discrimination to her employer and not being satisfied with the outcome of her grievance hearing, Gasparova resigned without notice in July 2021. In her resignation letter, she claimed she was "subjected to conduct which amounts to sexual harassment."
Gasparova, Goulandris, and essDOCS didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
"Our primary reasons for rejecting the Claimant's account of events were that we considered her perception of everyday events was skewed, she demonstrated a tendency to make extraordinary allegations without evidence and she contradicted herself in a way that could not be attributable to a fallible memory," Burns wrote in a reserved judgment on April 28.
"Based on our factual findings, all of the Claimant's allegations of sexual harassment fail," Burns added. "There was no unwanted conduct of a sexual nature at any time."
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