Sex harassment victim says CT call centre tried to buy her silence
Lisa Koopman is taking DigiOutbound to court to ensure the culture of harassment in the workplace is exposed and dealt with.
CAPE TOWN – A sexual harassment victim said she rejected R200,000 from her employer because she would not be silenced.
Instead, Lisa Koopman is taking DigiOutbound to court to ensure the culture of harassment in the workplace is exposed and dealt with.
The call centre has acknowledged the sexual harassment and said it had since dismissed staff and management, reinforced policy and business values and offered Koopman 12 months’ salary in recognition of her suffering and her role in rooting out the toxic culture.
Koopman said she worked at DigiOutbound for more than a year and during that time experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, bullying, body-shaming and emotional abuse.
She said her male colleagues, who outnumbered her female co-workers, would touch her and make inappropriate sexual comments about women in the office.
“Men would stand and press their penises against us. One man begged me for over an hour to touch my breast. When we cried or complained they’d laugh. They’d laugh at what they were doing to me.”
Koopman said the company’s human resource department tried to silence her.
“They’d tell us to be quiet and to stop complaining. We were told to ignore them and to be team players. They said if we continued to complain, we wouldn’t move up in the workplace.”
She described the culture as a sort of “boys club” at the office, a feeling corroborated by her former colleague Jason Bernado, who is currently claiming unfair discrimination because of a disability.
“They will try to work you out of the company. I can say shamefully that in terms of sexual harassment women are targeted and I shamefully said nothing. I want to speak up.”
Koopman is waiting on the Labour Court to hear her matter.
Koopman has also shared more about her ordeal on social media.