Worker sues boss for mistaking email acronyms for sexual advances

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A British IT worker sued her former boss after believing the email abbreviations he used in text messages were actually code encouraging her to engage in a sexual relationship.

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Karina Gasparova, an IT worker at essDOCS, filed a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against her “rich and powerful” boss Alexander Goulandris, accusing him of misconduct that began in 2019 Independent reported. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed.

An employment tribunal in London’s Central Court heard Gasparova’s claims that Goulandris’ use of ‘xx’ in emails was a code for wanting kisses from her and that his initials ‘AJG’ stood for ‘A Jumbo Genital’.

She also interpreted his use of “yy” as sexual contact and “??” as asking when she was “ready to engage in sexual activity.”


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The panel also heard Gasparova tell her superiors she believed Goulandris wanted to have a sexual relationship with her, but because she “refused his advances,” he abused her by yelling at her, undermining her in meetings with clients, and her duties withdrawn.

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Gasparova also accused Goulandris of touching her leg with his leg under a table and then “staring” at her, which made her feel “anxious and uncomfortable”.

She filed a detailed complaint in April 2021, but all her allegations of sexual harassment were dismissed.

She appealed the decision the following month, but it was rejected so she stopped.

A judge dismissed the case, ruling that Gasparova had a “distorted perception of everyday events” during her time at the company.

She was also ordered to pay essDOCS $8,400 to cover costs.

“MS. Gasparova interpreted Mr. Goulandris’ wholly innocent, partly unintentional work-related conduct as a sinister intent,” Justice Emma Burns said.

“She showed a tendency to make extraordinary accusations without evidence, and she contradicted herself in ways that could not be attributed to fallible memory.” Worker sues boss for mistaking email acronyms for sexual advances

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