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$29,000 Fine For Peeping Tom Kiwi-Indian Co-worker

A man has been asked to pay $29,000 in compensation to a colleague who accused him of spying on her through a hole in the wall of the office toilet. 

The woman told the Human Rights Review Tribunal that another colleague at the workshop she worked at tipped her off about the co-worker trying to peep inside the toilet, the New Zealand Herald has reported. 

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She tried to catch the man red-handed by taking a photo through the hole from inside the toilet, but she reportedly failed to get a clear shot. 

The accused did not respond when the New Zealand Herald contacted his counsel for comment.

The unsettling event marked the culmination of what she described as nearly two years of persistent sexual harassment by her Kiwi-Indian colleague at the workshop.

The man has now been ordered to pay her $29,000 in compensation and almost $3,000 in lost wages. The tribunal's decision a couple of weeks back details a pattern of inappropriate behavior by the accused, including constant comments on the woman's attire, appearance, and relationship status. 

He would reportedly sing love songs in Hindi, refer to her as "princess”, send inappropriate messages, and invade her personal space at work.

One incident recounted to the tribunal involved Kumar entering her office, forcefully placing a ring on her finger, and making unwarranted physical contact. Despite reporting this to the workshop's owner, who implemented a rule preventing others from entering her office, the harassment reportedly persisted. 

After attempting to capture evidence and confronting Kumar, the woman reportedly informed the workshop owner and the building's landlord about it before ultimately leaving her job. 

The police were notified, and she sought counseling due to the emotional toll. The accused denies the restroom incident and claims the other behaviour was taken out of context, arguing it was not sexual.

The tribunal, however, found the woman's testimony more credible, describing the coworker’s explanations as implausible and inconsistent. Highlighting a significant power imbalance, given the man’s friendship with the owner, seniority, and age, the tribunal labelled the office and peeping incidents as undoubtedly sexual and humiliating.

The woman's victory in this case is seen as a significant win for sexual harassment claims, with the tribunal acknowledging the damages at the higher end. Despite the prolonged process, she hopes the decision will shed light on such workplace behavior. 

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