A Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal panel has fined a United Kingdom-based Nigerian lawyer, Victor Nwosu, 48, almost £45,000 for sexually objectifying a young paralegal seeking her first job by making erotic remarks during an interview.
According to the Daily Mail, Nwosu interviewed the 22-year-old lady for a position at his law firm in April 2018.
She described how he told her ‘you’re very pretty’ and ‘I only employ beautiful women’ among other unwanted compliments, before quizzing her over whether she had a boyfriend or a brother.
Nwosu, said to be the head of a law firm, was quoted as telling the female candidate ‘mmm, I like what I see during the interview and told her to ‘only wear skirts and high heels’, a disciplinary hearing was told.
The young woman, who has a first class degree and a masters, said she was the first woman in her family to go to university and sobbed after the traunatic interview and reported him to regulators the next day to prevent other women being put in a similar position.
She said that she was so ‘horrified’ that when he briefly left the room, she messaged her friends and boyfriend, saying ‘I don’t know if I want to work here’ adding that she felt ‘scared’.
“He said that I was very, very beautiful. He told me that I have to wear skirts when I come into work, he doesn’t like it when women wear trousers. He was undressing me with his eyes and he kept leaning forward and I’d lean back. I felt like an object. I felt so small. God I’m actually crying. The owner of the firm is disgusting,” she said in a message to her friends.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found him guilty and fined him £20,000 for his conduct and ordered him to pay additional costs of £23,550. Nwosu, who denied all the allegations, said he was happily married and called the case ‘female activism gone wrong’.
He said it would be ‘rude’ for the tribunal to believe the woman over him, ‘a solicitor of the Supreme Court’. But the panel found his remarks had ‘sexual connotations’.