Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Ordeal over Trip with Boss to Lap Dance Club; 'Boss Joked He Should Leave Me Alone More Often with the Clients'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Ordeal over Trip with Boss to Lap Dance Club; 'Boss Joked He Should Leave Me Alone More Often with the Clients'

Article excerpt

Byline: Tim Stewart

A RECRUITMENT consultant is suing for sexual harassment claiming that her boss forced her to share a private lap-dance to win business.

Rachel Kelly, 38, wept as she told how she was bullied into taking a client to a Spearmint Rhino lap-dancing club by her line manager, Danny Whelan.

After a business dinner he told the [pounds sterling] 100,000-a-year recruiter it was "unacceptable" for her to go home, she claimed. Mr Whelan told her that her job with leading IT recruitment agency IDPP Consulting required her to entertain clients at lap-dancing clubs, she said.

Miss Kelly also told London South employment tribunal how another "overly flirtatious" client groped her in the back of a taxi after she told Mr Whelan she did not want to be left alone with him.

Miss Kelly, of Isleworth, is suing both IDPP Consulting and Mr Whelan. She is also claiming victimisation and constructive dismissal and is believed to be demanding in the region of [pounds sterling] 175,000 for lost earnings and hurt feelings. The case highlights a dilemma for businesswomen. They may be asked to entertain clients in ways which they find demeaning but which their male colleagues see as a way of winning business.

Miss Kelly said: "I told Danny that I did not want to go to that sort of establishment. Danny responded by saying that was not acceptable and that I had to accompany them as it was my responsibility to entertain clients .

"I therefore felt I had no option but to go along with them."

She continued: "Danny then suggested that I should accompany him into the room for a private dance. I told him that I would rather not. However, Danny was very insistent. He was becoming angry with me."

Miss Kelly said that Mr Whelan reminded her that he was her line manager, adding: "Eventually, I went with him for a private dance under great duress. During the dance, I felt distraught and upset to see this young girl do this kind of thing for a living."

In November 2007, Mr Whelan sent her to meet another client at a Leicester Square pub, insisting that she could "handle him on her own" despite her concerns about the man. …

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