Cybersecurity firm faces sexual-harassment suit

Top News | Sum Lok-kei 15 Aug 2017

A product manager is seeking nearly HK$200,000 in compensation after accusing her supervisor of asking immoral and humiliating questions about her private life that damaged her mental health.

Wong Lai-po, who worked at cybersecurity firm ACW Distribution (HK) in North Point, yesterday filed a civil lawsuit against a former colleague, her manager and the company for violating the anti-sex discrimination law.

According to the writ filed at District Court, Wong, who resigned from ACW in February, said Vestor Li - a senior product manager and Wong's direct supervisor - sexually harassed her on two occasions.

At a meeting in February, Li allegedly asked Wong if she engaged in sex acts so she could get ahead. The question was entirely unrelated to the nature of her work, Wong said.

Earlier in January, Li asked Wong if she was a "mistress of her previous boss" at a restaurant in North Point.

Wong said she felt insulted and humiliated on both occasions but was too intimidated to speak up as Li was a her supervisor.

Norris Hung, who was a product managing director at the company and also Li's superior, was said to have been present at the February meeting. Wong claimed that Hung was liable for the harassment as he failed to stop the meeting or demand that Li apologize to Wong. He also did not report the incident to senior management, she said.

Wong faulted ACW for failing to establish a system to handle sexual harassment or process her complaint adequately and for not taking appropriate action against Li and Hung.

In the writ, Wong said she was already suffering from depression and the incident made it worse as she then developed insomnia and harbored suicidal thoughts. Wong demanded HK$197,600 in damages.

In a letter on May 19, Li denied he had said anything of the sort to Wong and added the allegations were "maliciously fabricated."

Wong Cheuk-fai, a financial controller of the company, told Sing Tao Daily he was surprised by the lawsuit.

A warning letter was issued to Li and the company had tried responding to her complaint by organizing a meeting with relevant staff.

It had also accepted her resignation without prior notice, he added.

According to the Equal Opportunities Commission's website, comments with sexual innuendos can amount to sexual harassment.

lok.sum@singtaonewscorp.com

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