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Woman who suffered sexist bullying at work awarded £250,000

A woman who was subjected to sexist bullying at work has been awarded nearly £250,000 in compensation.

Julie Humphryes earned more than £100,000 a year as an architect with the firm, YOO. She told the Employment Tribunal that she became marginalised by the firm after she took maternity leave with her second child in 2012.

Ms Humphryes said had also had to endure “patronising and sexist” remarks during meetings and “detrimental treatment” during her pregnancy.

She felt that she was not given enough credit for her part in major projects. When she complained to the chief executive, Chris Boulton, he allegedly told one of her colleagues that she was “exhibiting maternity paranoia”.

Ms Humphryes resigned in 2013 and began legal proceedings to win compensation for the “sexist bullying” that she had suffered.

Mr Boulton told the tribunal that he felt Ms Humphryes was “exhibiting insecurity because she was away from the office and not in touch with what was going on”.

The tribunal found in favour of Ms Humphryes. The chairman, Dr Simon Auerbach, said she may have resigned for various reasons but the sexist bullying had proved the “last straw”.

Dr Auerbach said: “We accepted from Mr Boulton that his general point was that being out of the office might be making her over-suspicious about what may be going on at work without her knowledge.

“Nevertheless, the specific phrase ‘maternity paranoia’ has the pejorative tone expressly linked to maternity being the reason for the absence. This was, we found, indeed unfavourable treatment.”

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