Married City exec sacked for making 'sleazy' drunken pass at colleague

Married City exec who was sacked for making ‘sleazy’ drunken pass at junior colleague he told was a ‘7 out of 10’ fails in bid to overturn unfair dismissal

  • Ex-associate director Tom Skinner told Jessica Lennox she was in his ‘top three’
  • He was sacked for gross misconduct and launched an unfair dismissal claim
  • Father alleged he was discriminated against because he suffered from anxiety
  • But his case was dismissed after employment tribunal ruled sacking was justified

A married City executive who was sacked for making a ‘sleazy’ drunken pass at a junior colleague he told was a ‘7 out of 10’ has failed in his bid to overturn an unfair dismissal.

Tom Skinner told Jessica Lennox she was in his ‘top three’ and asked her what would happen if they were the last people left alive and had to ‘repopulate the Earth’.

When she complained, the father claimed she had ‘misunderstood’ and that he actually meant she would be a great number seven in a work rugby team.

After Skinner was sacked for gross misconduct he launched an unfair dismissal claim alleging he had been discriminated against because he suffered from anxiety.

But his case has been dismissed after an employment tribunal ruled his ‘inappropriate behaviour’ meant his sacking was justified.

Tom Skinner told Jessica Lennox she was in his ‘top three’ and asked her what would happen if they were the last people left alive and had to ‘repopulate the Earth’, the tribunal in central London (building pictured) heard 

The hearing in central London was told Mr Skinner was employed as an associate director at investment management company Smith & Williamson Corporate Services Limited.

In October 2018 the company held their annual financial services conference where there was a dinner followed by drinks.

The tribunal heard that after the meal a drunken Mr Skinner approached junior colleague, Ms Lennox, and posed a ‘hypothetical scenario’ to her in which she was approached by a man on a dance floor.

He then went on to say he would like to get with ‘the prettiest girl’ before telling Ms Lennox that he thought she was a ‘7 out of 10’.

When Ms Lennox asked him what he was talking about he was said to have replied that she would be in his ‘top three’.

Later on in the evening Mr Skinner again approached Ms Lennox, who worked as an office assistant, and asked her what would happen if they were the ‘last two people on earth’ and had to ‘repopulate the earth’.

Throughout the evening, the tribunal heard Mr Skinner’s behaviour got progressively worse and he later approached another woman, named only as ‘Ms J’ and made a number of inappropriate comments.

He said he used to attend sex parties in his younger years before telling her he helped pay her mortgage.

Later on, he approached her at the bar, grabbed her face and told her she had ‘marzipan cheeks’.

He also went up to another women and tried to give her his phone number but she rejected him saying it was ‘a bit sleazy’.

Towards the end of the night, the Birmingham University graduate followed ‘Ms J’ into the toilet on two occasions and refused to leave until another woman walked in.

After the conference Mr Skinner was reported to his bosses and an investigation was launched.

The tribunal heard that during the interview Mr Skinner denied all of the accusations and attempted to give a different explanation for the ‘7 out of 10’ comment.

He claimed that he remembered saying that, if the company had a work rugby team, he would play Ms Lennox at number seven and another colleague, at position ten.

He admitted he had drunk a lot and his memory was ‘hazy’ but denied talking about sex parties and claimed he only ‘accidentally’ walked into the women’s bathroom.

He did confess during the investigation to ‘missing his old life pre-children’ and said it was ‘all a bit different from threesomes at uni’.

The tribunal heard his version of events was rejected by the company and other members of staff who confirmed what had happened and said Mr Skinner was ‘particularly drunk’.

At the disciplinary meeting Mr Skinner ‘appeared stressed and anxious’ and even asked whether police were outside waiting for him.

He later claimed he experienced a period of ‘extreme mental distress, paranoia, anxiety and psychosis’ during the disciplinary process.

Mr Skinner was subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct.

Employment Judge Natasha Joffe, concluded that Mr Skinner ‘had a tendency at times to present the version of events which at a particular moment he felt would be most helpful or to edit facts which would be unhelpful’.

Judge Joffe concluded: ‘It was within the band of reasonable responses to dismiss [Mr Skinner] for what was found to be a sequence of inappropriate behaviours, some of them with sexual content and much of the behaviour directed towards more junior female employees.’

She ruled that the claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination were both unfounded.

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