Sleazy mattress boss who asked female manager ‘Can I Harvey Weinstein your a***?’ ordered to pay her £35k

A SLEAZY mattress boss who asked a female manager “Can I Harvey Weinstein your a***?” has been ordered to pay her £35,000 in compensation.

Leonard Harris, 59, repeatedly pestered his employee for sexual favours while she worked at his Somerset based upholstery firm, a tribunal heard.

A tribunal heard that Leonard Harris, pictured with a model in a promotional video, became infatuated with a female employee
unknown. Image supplied by Champion Newhs Service Ltd strictly on the basis of a research
Harris, 59, makes crude jokes about mattresses in an intentionally awkward promo video
unknown. Image supplied by Champion Newhs Service Ltd strictly on the basis of a research

She alleged Harris had kissed her and put his hands up her clothes – despite ongoing protestations.

The pair had previously enjoyed a flirtatious relationship after she started as a secretary at Mark Harris Upholstery Limited in Taunton.

DREW THE LINE

Employment Judge Matthews heard witnesses describe how at an office party she told him she used to be “a cage dancer in Ibiza” and was “not wearing any knickers”, before dancing with her boss in a “very provocative manner”.

However, the woman “changed her mind” and made it very clear that she did not welcome Harris’ advances, the Exeter tribunal heard.

She drew the line in November 2016 when Harris was offered a bacon bap, to which he replied “No, I want you” and lunged at her, it was said.

Judge Matthews found Harris “could not overcome his infatuation with [the woman], could not change his behaviours in any significant way”.

Can I squeeze your bum, no, squeeze your tit, no, can I Harvey Weinstein your a***

Leonard Harris, quoted as saying in the tribunal

She complained that her boss had “gradually introduced” unwanted touching.

“He would spontaneously kiss me, stroke or sniff my hair, put his hands inside my clothes, sexually hug me, sit me on his knee, ask for sex/sexual favours,” she told the tribunal.

Harris, who can be seen cosying up to a model in a cringey promotional video for his firm, begged her to go “back to how it used to be” during a meeting to address her concerns in January 2018.

He then told her: “Can I squeeze your bum, no, squeeze your tit, no, can I Harvey Weinstein your a***”, the tribunal heard.

Harris referenced Harvey Weinstein in his chat-up lines, the tribunal heard, the Hollywood mogul accused by dozens of women of sexual assault
AFP or licensors

‘I WAS LEFT FEELING VIOLATED’

Dozens of women have made allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, accusing him of rape, sexual assault and harassment over a period of at least thirty years – all claims he has categorically denied.

In a transcript from notes she made after the meeting, heard by the tribunal, the woman added: “I was left feeling dirty, violated and ashamed that he’d tricked me again.”

I was left feeling dirty, violated and ashamed that he’d tricked me again

Complainant

In another meeting he told her: “I wanna be able to touch you on the arm without thinking that “f**k me, I’m Harvey Weinsteining the poor woman’.

The woman worked for five years at Mark Harris Upholstery Limited, becoming general manager within 18 months.

But she resigned in April 2018 after accusing her boss of gross misconduct.

A tribunal ruled that Harris had subjected a female employee to sexual discrimination while working at The Foam Shop in Taunton, Somerset
Harris, pictured with a model in a promo vidoe, denied the allegations but a court ruled in the complainant’s favour
unknown. Image supplied by Champion Newhs Service Ltd strictly on the basis of a research

‘HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT’

Harris, who denied the allegations, was found guilty of sexually discriminating against his employee, who had kept diary entries of his harassment claims.

Announcing his decision, Judge Matthews said: “Mr Harris was engaged in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature and that conduct had the purpose, or effect, of violating the claimant’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for her.

“[The woman] flirted with Mr Harris and probably put up with his conduct of a sexual nature as a convenient means of securing her job and influence.

“As time went on she changed her mind and started to protest.”

“[She] did not want any physical contact with Mr Harris. She wanted to be left alone in that respect and allowed to get on with her job.”


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