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Duo win £37,000 payout in sex harassment case

Two women in Northern Ireland have won over £37,000 taking sexual harassment cases against their employers.

Coach driver Julie Rutherford (32), from Magherafelt, brought a case against Chambers Coach Hire after alleged sexual comments and inappropriate physical contact.

She said management failed to protect her or handle her grievance correctly. The case was settled for £22,500.

“No-one should have to put up with treatment like this,” she said.

Coleraine manager Majella Gallen (28), claimed she was subjected to unwanted physical contact and remarks of a religious and sexual nature as well as unfavourable treatment in allocating a company car at JKC Specialist Cars.

The business settled the case without admitting liability and paid Ms Gallen £15,000.

“I felt ostracised after raising my complaints with management,” she added.

“I'm thankful for the (Equality) Commission's assistance and that the motor industry, where women are still in the minority, is being made aware that equality law applies to them as well.”

In the year to February 2010, the commission had 748 inquiries about gender discrimination.

Almost a third of new cases last year were gender-related.

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