Sex pest boss told employee: ‘I bet you’re into bondage’
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Sex pest boss told employee: ‘I bet you’re into bondage’

A tribunal has ruled that entrepreneur Stephen Taylor sexually harassed a female employee, pretending to hit her with a ruler.

Entrepreneur Stephen Taylor appearing on BBC's The Daily Politics in 2013 (Image: BBC / YouTube)
Entrepreneur Stephen Taylor appearing on BBC's The Daily Politics in 2013 (Image: BBC / YouTube)

A Jewish businessman mimicked spanking his female employee with a ruler before she was unfairly constructively dismissed, a tribunal has ruled.

Stephen Taylor, founder and managing director of Promo Concepts Ltd, which sells corporate gifts, regularly brought employees to tears with his behaviour, the panel heard.

Successful claims for sexual harassment, unfair constructive dismissal and sex discrimination were brought against the London-based company by a female employee.

She told the hearing how Taylor repeatedly claimed she must be into bondage, saying: “I can imagine you being a dominatrix.”

The tribunal heard how Taylor spanked a ruler against his hand, telling her “I wish I could,” and made unwanted comments about her appearance when she was wearing a low-cut top. 

The entrepreneur, who has appeared on television and in national newspapers, had denied the claims. 

A section of the judgement

But in a ruling published last week, the tribunal found employees at the business were in fear of being dismissed at short notice, and the claimant was subjected to “sexualised remarks and behaviour” from the business founder.

Other former employees told the tribunal that he asked them whether they cheated on their boyfriend because “in sales you had to be a bitch to succeed.”

“The picture we found was of a workplace where Mr Taylor had and exerted power and acted in ways which regularly upset employees and brought them to tears,” ruled a hearing at London Central Employment Tribunal.

The board-room was dubbed “the crying room” because it was a frequent occurrence for employees to be upset after having been there, the tribunal heard.

The final straw came when the employee confronted her boss about a perceived different pay structure at a meeting in 2017, saying she did not want to work for a “boss who frightened her and sexually harassed her and was treating her unfairly.”

He refused to address any difference in the pay structures, the hearing found, “because he felt that there was no financial justification for doing so.”

A spokesperson for Taylor said he “vehemently denied” the conversations took place, and that he had begun an appeal.

“However, in this challenging economic climate, a prolonged costly legal battle was in no one’s interests and this matter was resolved privately with no admission of the highly disputed allegations,” he said.

The business was also this month ordered to pay out £22,714 after another employer won an unfair dismissal claim.

The employer had in that case also failed to pay commission owed, the tribunal found.

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