A senior Melbourne lawyer has been accused of sexually harassing a younger employee.
The lawyer is now facing accusations that he sexually harassed the woman over a period of seven months, but a spokesperson for the firm said the women’s claims were ‘categorically denied’.
According to The Age, the firm maintains that the text-message relationship was inappropriate but consensual.
“I find you seriously hot … I'm thinking about you and your legs and everything else and it's driving me mad,” he allegedly wrote in a text message
“Every time I look at you during the day I go crazy… I want your body.”
The woman claims that if she didn’t respond, he would become aggressive and abusive.
“Why are you f-----g ignoring me? I'm your boss. Show some respect,” he allegedly said in another text.
The woman is seeking damages and compensation, represented by Maurice Blackburn principal John Bornstein.
This is a case that has featured a barrage of sexually charged, explicit material being sent by a senior person to a younger employee, including X-rated photographs,” Bornstein said, describing the alleged harassment as ‘relentless’.
“It is behaviour that is at the extreme end of sexually harassing behaviour and it has no place in a law firm, footy club or any other workplace.
“We still have enormous work to do in getting organisations to confront wrongdoing … and where the wrongdoing is by someone highly regarded or valuable to the organisation, it is no excuse for failing to hold people to account.”
The woman claims she complained about the harassment to her practice manager and to one of the firm’s principal lawyers, after his behaviour, which started off as a sexually suggestive look, got progressively worse.
Her claims will now be referred to the Human Rights Commission.