A disturbing sexual harassment case has come to light, shedding light on unsettling, unsolicited comments made by Sydney jeweller Simon Grew towards a female employee. Text messages revealed in court proceedings unveiled a troubling pattern of behavior, including inappropriate remarks about her appearance, persistent requests for dates, and an incident where he slapped her on the bottom.
Federal Court Justice Anna Katzmann has awarded Fiona Taylor, a 35-year-old, a record-breaking $268,233.64 in damages under the Sex Discrimination Act. This verdict came after it was determined that Grew, the owner of Grew & Co, had harassed Ms. Taylor, who subsequently faced retaliation after filing a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission.
The court judgment established that Mr. Grew harassed Ms. Taylor when he “slapped her on the bottom” in 2019 and, on two occasions in 2020, confessed his feelings for her.
Ms. Taylor initially joined the boutique jeweller in January 2018 and described her early experiences as “exciting,” with the workplace culture appearing “friendly and welcoming.” She felt that she had finally found a boss who recognized her talents and championed her.
However, things took a turn for the worse when Mr. Grew confessed his feelings for her in January 2020. Despite knowing that Ms. Taylor was in a relationship, he allegedly told her, “I’ve developed feelings for you. I can’t hold it inside any longer… I think you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. We get along so well, we like the same things. My – my children don’t need a mother, they need a friend…”
Despite Ms. Taylor’s clear disinterest, which she conveyed in a text exchange three weeks later, stating her desire to establish boundaries and maintain a strictly work-related relationship, Mr. Grew persisted in pursuing her, reiterating his feelings during a car ride in June 2020.
Throughout her time at the jeweller, Ms. Taylor claimed her boss gifted her numerous unsolicited items, totaling 19, including a quilted black Chanel coin purse, a Michael Kors bomber jacket, and jewelry pieces worth thousands of dollars. Ms. Taylor testified that Mr. Grew once closed the door in their shared office and asked her to try on the jacket in front of him, an incident that he disputed. When he noted that the jacket was a bit fitted, he suggested they go up a size, and she reluctantly agreed.
It was Mr. Grew’s text messages and comments over an extended period that underscored his inappropriate behavior. Ms. Taylor reported that Mr. Grew made statements like “I like petite curvy brunettes,” “You have a really nice body,” “You have a beautiful body,” and “You have bedroom eyes.” In one text, he told her, “There’s soooooo much good in you!” and “You’re not just enough, you are actually 100 percent perfect.” In another, he remarked, “Even your ‘flaws’ are perfect,” and “Not sure if I mentioned how amazing you look today, but if I did, it’s worth bringing up. Have a great weekend.”
The court judgment revealed that Ms. Taylor suffered from increased anxiety, withdrawal, and sleep difficulties due to these distressing events.
Originally posted on news.com.au