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Man loses damages case on job reference.

A man who complained that he was left unemployable by a job reference which mentioned allegations of sexual harassment against him has lost his High Court damages action.

Self-employed financial adviser Ian Dike had sued for malicious falsehood and negligent misstatement over the April 2003 reference, saying that it was inaccurate and unfair.

Judge Richard Seymour QC dismissed his claim against investment adviser Gerald Rickman and his company, Ziegler Rickman Ltd.

"I have found in my judgment that everything he complained about in the reference was true," he said.

He ordered unemployed Mr Dike, aged 55, to pay the pounds 70,000 defence costs - with an interim payment of pounds 30,000.

Mr Rickman provided the reference when Mr Dike, who had joined the Ringwood, Hampshire firm in August 1999, applied for a job as associate partner with St James's Place Wealth Management Group plc.

Among his answers to 18 questions posed by SJP, Mr Rickman referred to complaints about alleged miss-selling by Mr Dike and his record as a work colleague.

He wrote: "Mr Dike is a very difficult person with whom to work. We shall not be sorry to lose his services.

"We have received two complaints of sexual harassment from a secretary and an outside office cleaner.

"Mr Dike has been cautioned for both complaints which he denied. No further action resulted."

Mr Dike, of Manor Road, Gussage St Michael, Wimborne, Dorset, said the reference resulted in him losing the SJP job and becoming unemployable in the life assurance and investment advice fields.

In a witness statement, Mr Rickman said that Mr Dike's attitude towards some members of female staff was "chauvinistic, bullying, degrading and sexually offensive".

It ranged from shouting at them, repeatedly banging their desk in temper and touching them inappropriately.

The judge, sitting in London, said that he did not find Mr Dike, who is married with two children, to be a man of integrity.

"Far from it. In my judgment his standards of behaviour, and in particular his regard for the truth, are entirely conditioned by what he perceives to be in his best interests
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 23, 2005
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