A woman who suffered five months of sexual harassment from her boss has won her claim for compensation.

Blanche Bell told a tribunal her life was made a misery by 21st Century Bookmakers finance director Francis Austin, who had already been dismissed by a former employer following sexual harassment claims.

Austin pestered her with late-night telephone calls, turned up uninvited at her flat, repeatedly asked her out and once put his hand on her leg in the pub, said Mrs Bell, who claimed his attentions forced her to resign from her part-time job

as assistant manageress at the company's branches in Rottingdean and Brighton.

She said she was forced to leave her answering machine switched on to avoid his calls and eventually changed her number. Mrs Bell, of Trafalgar Close, Peaceheaven, claimed she was a victim of sexual discrimination at an employment tribunal. Mr Austin, who confirmed to the tribunal he was dismissed by Brighton and Hove Council for alleged sexual harassment, denied harassing Mrs Bell.

The tribunal found in favour of Mrs Bell and awarded her compensation. The amount will be decided on March 24. She told the Brighton hearing: "He kept asking me out. He asked me to go to Ascot with him but I refused. He came round the counter and stood deliberately close to me. He made me feel uncomfortable and unhappy."

The tribunal heard the problems came to a head in August last year on the night the firm celebrated the opening of a new branch in Trafalgar Street in Brighton.

She said Mr Austin put his hand on her leg in the Black Horse pub in Rottingdean, where staff had gathered for a drink.

She told the tribunal when Mr Austin was told she was accusing him of harassment he stormed off. Later that night he telephoned her about six times.

Mrs Bell, who said the harassment went on for five months, claimed she complained to thecompany but no action was taken so she felt she had no choice but to resign.

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