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B&Q WHOREHOUSE; Sacked worker tells of staff sex romps in store's disabled loo.

Byline: By SUZANNE HARVEY

A DIY superstore was known as the B&Q Whorehouse because staff were always having sex in the loo, a former worker said yesterday.

Ben Zawadzki said: ``There was lots of sexual activity among the staff and they would often disappear to the disabled toilets.

``A B&Q sign in the paint aisle had `whorehouse' written on it.

``It was a standing joke among staff, but it's not the sort of thing you expect to see in a DIY store.''

Plumber Ben, 41, told his story at an employment tribunal as he claimed he was unfairly sacked from his job at a B&Q Warehouse.

He also alleged that he was sexually harassed by a woman colleague at the store. He said Jane Foreman groped his private parts and offered to perform a sex act on him in the disabled toilet.

Ben toldthetribunalhedidn'tfancy Jane, who ``looked like a trout''.

He said: ``She would come up behind me on the shop floor, stand behind me, put her hand between my legs and grope me from behind.

``There was lots of sexual activity in the store but I wasn't interested in any of that. My wife had left me and I wanted to save my marriage.''

B&Q's lawyer, Jessica Baden Daintree, asked Ben if he was accusing Jane of offering him the sex act in the toilet.

He replied: ``Yes. I didn't put that in my original statement because I was too embarrassed to write about it.

``She had been sexually harassing me for four months.''

Solicitor Paul D'Ambrogio asked Ben if he found Jane attractive. He replied: ``No. I thought she looked like a trout.''

Ben claimed he made an official complaint in November, 2002, about Jane's behaviour. B&Q said they had no record of it.

The store chain sacked Ben from its branch in Wallasey, Merseyside, last March, after Jane said he threw a bundle of papers at her in a rage.

He denied the claim yesterday and said: ``There was a conspiracy against me. The management of the Wallasey branch have tried to stitch me up.''

Ms Baden-Daintree denied any conspiracy and said: ``His threatening behaviour, according to company policy, is enough to warrant dismissal.

``Thefacthefailedtoevenapologise to Jane strengthens our case.''

Ben says the sacking left him so traumatised that he can't find another job. He is having counselling for depression.

The tribunal in Liverpool will rule on the case later.

Ben said after the hearing: ``The way I have been treated by B&Q is absolutely dreadful. My grievance about sexual harassment was completely ignored by the management.

``Jane Foreman's allegations that I threw reports at her are totally false.

``I wasnever aggressive towards her. ``She's just a kid. But she sexually harassed me and tried to take advantage of the fact my wife had left.''

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GROPING CLAIM: Ben says he was pestered
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 8, 2004
Words:483
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