Portadown woman gets £6,000 in sexual harassment case

Jing-Yueh Huang-Porterfield felt she had no option but to resign
Jing-Yueh Huang-Porterfield felt she had no option but to resign

A Portadown woman who alleged she was subjected to unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace has settled her case for £6,000.

Jing-Yueh Huang-Porterfield, who took the case with the assistance of the Equality Commission, was employed by the Wah Hep Chinese Community Association in Craigavon for 20 months from February 2015 until her resignation in October 2016.

She alleges that, during that time, a manager made sexually offensive and suggestive comments and behaved inappropriately.

Jing-Yueh Huang-Porterfield said: “It was very upsetting when my manager began to make inappropriate sexual comments and gestures towards me.

“I did raise a grievance with my employer, but I became ill due to the stress of the situation I found myself in and I had to go on sick leave. I felt I had no option but to resign from my job.

“I wish none of this had happened to me, it was an awful experience. I feel I have lost a job that I enjoyed through no fault of my own, but it would have been impossible to have stayed there.”

Anne McKernan, director of legal services at the Equality Commission, said: “Women are entitled to dignity and respect in the workplace – as are all workers – and employers must deal effectively and promptly with any allegations of improper treatment or behaviour. It must be emphasised that there is a legal duty on employers to prevent harassment such as that alleged by Jing–Yueh from happening.”

In settling the case, the Wah Hep Chinese Community Association, in addition to paying Mrs Huang-Porterfield £6,000 without any admission of liability, stated that it sincerely regrets any upset felt by her in the course of her employment.