A lawsuit was filed last week by Alexandra Marks, suing Colliers International Australia CFO Sean Unwin for sexual harassment. Marks alleges that Unwin tried to force her face towards his crotch, undressed in front of her, looked up her skirt and offered to arrange for her to have sex with an office colleague.
According to court documents, Marks did not report Unwin’s behaviour to HR at the time because of a lack of confidence in the department. She had observed HR dealing with sensitive information in an improper manner, and deemed that Colliers HR “ought not to be trusted with the details of my complaint”.
Court documents said that in March 2015, Marks was called to a meeting with the HR manager and Unwin, in which Unwin allegedly told her a staff member had made a complaint against her, regarding having seen her having sex with a colleague in a meeting room.
Marks believed this complaint was genuine, with Unwin and the HR manager then allegedly laughing at her. The HR manager is alleged to have later apologised, saying “He [Unwin] forced me go along with the joke”.
Marks’ lawyers, Harmers Workplace Lawyers, have now revealed that a private mediation will take place. A spokesperson for Colliers said, “Out of respect for the privacy of both individuals involved and the court process it would be inappropriate for us to comment further except to say that providing a safe and professional workplace for our more than 1000 employees is our highest priority.”
Colliers had previously said that Unwin would “vigorously defend all allegations”.
According to Patricia Ryan of The Workplace Employment Lawyers, Marks could potentially be awarded compensation of up to $750,000.
“She is alleging repeated behaviour over a period of time and she said she made it clear to the person the conduct was unwelcome,” said Ryan.
Commercial real estate company Colliers and one of its former employees have agreed to a private mediation, following the exposure of the ex-worker’s allegations of sexual harassment against the firm’s CFO.