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IBM employee launches $1.1m bullying case

IBM employee launches $1.1m bullying case

IBM employee Susan Spiteri is suing the technology company for workplace bullying and sexual harassment.Represented by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, Spiteri has filed a claim in the Federal Court…

IBM employee Susan Spiteri is suing the technology company for workplace bullying and sexual harassment.

Represented by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, Spiteri has filed a claim in the Federal Court seeking $1.1 million in compensation and damages from IBM after mediation in the Australian Human Rights Commission failed.

According to a statement from Maurice Blackburn, Spiteri has not been able to work since the end of November 2009 after suffering sexual harassment and sustained workplace bullying from a manager.

"[Spiteri] suffered such serious stress-related illness about her work situation. She is currently unfit for work and may remain this way for some time," said Spiteri's lawyer, Maurice Blackburn employment special counsel Siobhan Keating.

"Ms Spiteri did her job very well until the appointment of a new senior manager, who we allege systematically harassed and bullied her including inappropriate touching, remarks, threats, intimidation and unreasonable demands."

According to Keating, it is alleged the manager told Spiteri she should "get her breasts out" to get sales, referred to her as "f---ing Spiteri" and called her repeatedly out of hours.

"When Ms Spiteri reported the bullying and serious sexual harassment, IBM's human resources department turned a blind eye," claimed Keating.

When contacted by Lawyers Weekly, an IBM spokesperson said: "IBM does not tolerate harassment of any type. The claimant remains an employee of IBM and continues to receive comprehensive benefits and support. The person against whom the harassment allegations were made left IBM two years ago. We will vigorously defend ourselves in court."

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