The employment tribunal has dismissed all claims of sexual harassment brought against magic circle firm Linklaters and its former head of technology.
Employment Judge Brown found that a false allegation was made against Partha Mudgil – former chief operating officer of Linklaters’ in-house tech business – by a paralegal, Fatima Imran. The tribunal said the claimant falsely told City of London Police that Mudgil had sexually assaulted her and repeated the false allegation to the employment tribunal, before withdrawing it.
On the allegations that were not withdrawn, the tribunal made findings of facts that Mudgil ‘did not touch the claimant’s thigh on 10 December 2018, that he did not stand close to her on 21 December 2018 and he did not motion to her to leave the bar with him on 01 February 2019.’
The judge added that Whatsapp messages the claimant had allegedly exchanged with friends in December 2018 and January 2019 were ‘generalised and unspecific’.
‘The tribunal did not find that those WhatsApp messages represented, in any way, a reliable account of her interactions with Mr Mudgil. They appeared, from the intimate and extremely graphic language used towards Mr Mudgil, to be the product of fantasy on the part of the claimant,’ it said.
In a hearing earlier this month, Imran alleged that she had been subject to three incidents of sexual harassment and that her contract with the firm was terminated early because she had rejected Mudgil’s advances.
However the tribunal accepted the respondents’ reasons for ending the contract. ‘They were nothing to do with sex harassment. In particular, the claimant had been disruptive in the workplace and had involved her colleagues in discussions about extending her contract, despite not having been given any guarantee that her contract would be extended,’ it said.
The tribunal added that the claimant – who was a contractor - was not in fact in employment within the meaning of Equality Act 2010 so was therefore not able to bring a claim relying on the Equality Act 2010.
The tribunal’s decision is open to appeal.
A spokesperson for Linklaters said: ‘We welcome the tribunal’s decision. The firm takes any complaints of inappropriate conduct extremely seriously.’