Marketing coordinator loses discrimination claim after threatening to accuse boss of affair unless she was paid one year’s salary

In Ms Hortence Yagmur v Armstrong World Industries Hortence Yagmur was employed as a Marketing Coordinator. In a ‘calculated and premeditated’ move, she told Marketing Communications Manager at Armstrong Ceiling Solutions, Isabel Blanco, that she would report her after claiming to have been told she was in an ‘on-off’ relationship with a senior colleague.

In a ‘scurrilous’ attempt to pressure her, Ms Yagmur went on to demand a year’s salary to leave her job after previously having said she would resign following a series of disputes with Ms Blanco over her working conduct.

The tribunal ruled that Ms Yagmur sought ‘to put pressure on Ms Blanco to negotiate a pay out on her behalf by threatening to make an untruthful and damaging allegations against her if she refused to do so.’

The panel added: ‘This was calculated and premeditated. She tried to coerce Ms Blanco into negotiating an exit package for her by threatening to make scurrilous claims of sexual impropriety against her.’

The hearing in Watford was told Westminster University graduate Ms Yagmur had joined West London firm Armstrong Ceiling Solutions as a Marketing Co-ordinator. Ms Blanco began receiving reports from colleagues that Ms Yagmur was spending a lot of time on her mobile phone and was away from her desk for ‘long periods’ of up to 40 minutes, the hearing was told.

In one three hour meeting, it was heard she left three times with her phone and was absent for up to 20 minutes. The tribunal heard when Ms Blanco raised the issue with her, Ms Yagmur became ‘outraged’ and ’emotional’.

This was the first in a series of disagreements – the following month the pair had a dispute after Ms Blanco refused to order business cards for her. Five days later the 22-year-old left her desk for more than an hour and was seen on her phone.

Ms Yagmur told the head of HR she was resigning and that she was looking for 12 months’ salary in compensation or help to pay her rent for nine months. The company refused and offered her a month’s pay in lieu of notice instead, accepting her resignation.

Ms Yagmur then complained she had been the victim of age and disability. However, the panel – chaired by Employment Judge Akua Reindorf – rejected her case.

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