SOURCE: The Straits Times
A dental nurse is suing a director of Pacific Healthcare Holdings (PHH), Mr Benny Kwan, for alleged sexual harassment, claiming he had repeatedly bugged her for dates.
Ms Mardiana Sarifudin, 31, is also taking to court her employer, Pacific Healthcare Specialist Services (PHSS), and its parent company, the publicly listed PHH, alleging that both had failed to protect her and ensure a harassment-free workplace. She is seeking for the case to be heard in the High Court, which only admits civil cases with claims of at least $250,000. The nurse is also seeking a court injunction against Mr Kwan trying to contact her by phone or other means.
The alleged harassment occurred over nine months from September last year. Mr Kwan, defended by Senior Counsel Davinder Singh of Drew & Napier, is denying the claims. In a strongly worded statement yesterday, he said he had told the PHH board the allegations were frivolous and baseless .Ms Mardiana claimed he was frequently at the clinic on Orchard Road, and was in a position to influence her job position and income.
She alleged that the group and its subsidiary, by letting the alleged harassment happen, were vicariously liable. Ms Mardiana, in court papers filed last week, claimed she gave Mr Kwan her personal phone number in September last year on his request, believing it was for work-related matters. But as it turned out, he repeatedly asked her out on dates, despite her repeated refusals.
She cited phone logs of the telephone calls to support her allegations; she had blocked 43 phone calls from him between February and April, among other things. Ms Mardiana said in court documents that this has taken a toll on her health; she slept poorly, had frequent headaches and developed an anxiety disorder and mild depression. She also found it difficult to focus on her work.
Represented by Hoh Law Corporation lawyers Hoh Chin Cha and Margaret Neo, she is seeking damages for pain and distress, medical expenses and loss of enjoyment of life. She said the alleged circumstances have put her job in jeopardy. She wants loss of future earnings to be factored in the damages if she wins her case. A High Court pre-trial conference is due next month.
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