Karina Gasparova: IT worker sues boss Aleksander Goulandris over wrong 'AJG' acronym

An IT worker sued her “rich and powerful” boss for sexual harassment after mistaking “xx” in her email for the code for wanting kisses and her initials for ‘A Jumbo Genital’.

Project director Karina Gasparova also interpreted Aleksander Goulandris’s use of “yy” as sexual contact and the question marks as when she would be “ready to engage in sexual acts”.

An employment tribunal at London’s Central Court also heard that Ms Gasparova thought her superior renamed a file with her initials ‘AJG’ was actually an acronym for ‘A Jumbo Genital’.

A judge threw out his case, ruling that he had a “skewed perception of day-to-day events” from his time at his paperless document firm, essDOCS, where he had been working since November 2019.

The panel also heard Gasparova tell bosses that she thought Goulandris wanted to have a sexual relationship with her, but was treating her poorly because she had “rejected his advances”.

He claimed this included yelling at her, undermining her in client meetings, and taking key items away from her at work.

The court was also told of an incident in November 2019, in which Ms Gasparova claimed that Mr Goulandris touched her leg under the table and “stared at her”, leaving her “anxious and uncomfortable”.

The court ruled that the incident did occur, but had been accidental and “harmless” in nature.

In a series of other claims that were thrown out by the panel, Ms Gasparova said Mr Goulandris touched her hand when she pointed at her computer mouse and missed.

It was heard when she invited him to a lunch in September 2020, “to get some peace” from him sending “a lot of messages”; he refused her offer.

Ms Gasparova told the court this was because “the lunch involved romance and he just wanted sex”.

The same month, when Gasparova asked her when a project would be finished, she told the court that he erupted in an “extremely angry voice,” saying “I need a date, date, date.”

Ms Gasparova interpreted this to mean that she had been asked “the exact date on which she would finally agree to have sexual contact with him”.

In October, he complained that he had received an invitation to the same meeting 16 times from Mr. Goulandris, but the court found that it was not of a deliberate or sexual nature.

In April 2021, he filed a detailed complaint, in which all of his allegations of sexual harassment were dismissed.

He appealed the decision in May 2021 but was again rejected, for which he resigned.

Employment judge Emma Burns said: “Our main reasons for rejecting his account of events were that we considered his perception of day-to-day events to be biased.

“She demonstrated a tendency to make extraordinary accusations without evidence and contradicted herself in a way that could not be attributed to a fallible memory.

“Ms. Gasparova interpreted completely innocent work-related conduct, some of it accidental, on the part of Mr. Goulandris as having sinister intent.”

The panel dismissed his claims of direct sexual harassment, discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Ms Gasparova was also ordered to pay essDOCS £5,000 in costs after failing to comply with parts of the court proceedings on time.

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