BMC Saleswoman Sexually Harassed, Tribunal Finds

UK body also ruled the enterprise software company maintained a work atmosphere that was "degrading, humiliating, and offensive."

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

October 4, 2010

2 Min Read

A British employment tribunal has fined BMC Software 35,000 British Pounds after a former sales rep claimed she was groped and otherwise sexually harassed by a colleague while on a business trip in Nashville, Tenn.

Nicola Furlong, who was a senior saleswoman at the enterprise software company, claimed that sales director Bart Fanelli put his hand up her skirt and said he wanted to "eat her like a marshmallow" during the 2008 Nashville trip, which allegedly included a night at a raucous Coyote Ugly bar.

"He grabbed me so hard that I felt his nail on my episiotomy scar," Furlong told the tribunal, according to a report Monday in the UK's Daily Mail. Furlong also claimed her boss at the time, Steve Williamson, warned her that reporting the incident would not help her career at BMC.

Furlong, a UK resident, also complained to the tribunal in Reading, England, that BMC's male sales reps boasted about taking clients to lapdance clubs in order to seal deals, creating an environment in which she was uncomfortable.

Employment Judge Andrew Gumbiti-Zimuto ruled that Furlong's claims were well founded.

"So far as the claimant was encouraged not to make a complaint about Mr. Fanelli in 2008 we found it proven that there was intimidation to prevent the claimant from complaining about sexual harassment," Gumbiti-Zimuto ruled.

"The matters had a specific effect of violating claimant's dignity in the case of the Mr. Fanelli incident and all the matter had the cumulative effect of creating a degrading, humiliating, and offensive environment for the claimaint," the judge continued in his ruling.

"We are of the view that the nature of this conduct must have reasonably expected to cause offense," said Gumbito-Zimuto. BMC officials were not immediately able to provide a response to the tribunal's finding.

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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