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Hard rock singer 'forced to quit job at shelving firm after rejecting advances of older female colleague who slapped his buttocks, pushed her breasts against him and called his girlfriend a bimbo'




Hard rock singer ‘forced to quit job at shelving firm after rejecting advances of older female colleague who slapped his buttocks, pushed her breasts against him and called his girlfriend a bimbo’

  • Tom Ford, 31, suing bespoke furniture company for sexual discrimination
  • He also claims he was unfairly and constructively dismissed from firm
  • Tribunal told he rejected the advances of colleague Lucy Myers, 34
  • Miss Myers ‘brought him gifts and left him food in his car’,tribunal hears
  • When friendship turned sour she subjected him to verbal abuse, hearing told
  • Miss Myers ‘shocked and disgusted’ to learn of ‘vulgar’ allegations made
  • She says ‘absolutely false’ claims have ‘crippled her life’ 
  • Singer has played across Europe and the UK with band Motherload

England — A rock singer quit his day job after a female colleague sexually harassed him by slapping his bottom and calling him lewd names, a tribunal heard.

Tom Ford, 31, said Lucy Myers constantly complimented his looks, gave him gifts and bought cooked food into work for him to win his affection.

But when he rejected her advances, the 34-year-old American became hostile, sending rude messages and criticising his glamour-model girlfriend.



Mr Ford told the employment tribunal that he repeatedly complained to David Gibbon, his boss at bespoke furniture store the Good Shelf Company, but was rebuffed for being ‘over-sensitive’.

He said he had no choice but to resign and is suing the company for sexual discrimination, unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal.

Earl-BlockAprilThe shop, in the upmarket village of Rotherfield Greys, near Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, is where Mr Ford worked when he was not playing with his rock band, Motherload. He is the lead singer and has played gigs in Europe and around the UK.

The tribunal, in Reading, was told the problems began soon after Mr Ford, from Henley, began working at the company.

Miss Myers described his girlfriend Sarah-Jayne Whiteley as ‘Barbie’ and a ‘bimbo’ and said she had fake breasts, he said.

She would repeatedly slap his buttocks and on occasions brush her breasts against him, he said, adding that she seemed to enjoy making him feel uncomfortable.

‘Lucy would brush past me whilst in my area, pushing her breasts against me. I told her not to touch me and to be strictly professional,’ Mr Ford told the tribunal.

The day before she was due to leave for a new job last October, they met for a drink to try to sort out their problems. Mr Ford said Miss Myers admitted she had feelings for him but they ended the evening on good terms.

A few weeks later she returned to the company as a general manager. Mr Ford said he suspected Miss Myers and Mr Gibbon were having an affair after spotting her hand-feeding him chocolates in the office.

He claimed he was demoted to packing the furniture, rather than building it.



On December 13, he was accused by Mr Gibbon of being late and having too much time off, both of which were ‘fabricated’, he said.

On December 28, Mr Ford was told in an email from Mr Gibbon that he would not be needed to work in January. He immediately sent in his resignation. But Jack Mitchell, representing Mr Gibbon, said Mr Ford enjoyed female attention.

He said Miss Myers may have inadvertently brushed against him in the cramped workshop but did not do so on purpose.

Mr Ford made no mention to Mr Gibbon of being harassed, he said. He had joined in the flirting with Miss Myers when the pair first worked together and they had engaged in playful ‘high jinks’.

Mr Gibbon told the hearing that Mr Ford’s attitude and effort at work deteriorated to the point where he had to be made redundant.



‘It was becoming apparent that the mutual teasing was becoming more serious and personal insults between them were being traded regularly,’ he said.

Mr Ford, a former member of Young Guns, claimed Miss Myers even put a plate of food on his car seat in an attempt to win his affection.

‘I showed David what she had done and he said “she is mad”. This event scared me as I felt a line had been crossed,’ he said.

He said Miss Myers would make derogatory comments about his glamour model girlfriend of five years, Sarah-Jayne Whiteley, describing her as a ‘barbie’, ‘bimbo’ and ‘fake t**s’.

Miss Whiteley is an ex-girlfriend of heavy metal band Bring Me The Horizon’s singer, Oli Sykes.

Mr Ford told Judge Robin Broughton that Miss Myers, from Henley-on-Thames, would talk openly about working in a sex shop while at The Good Shelf Company, and she would refer to him using foul and homophobic language.


He said that after several complaints to Mr Gibbon were ignored ‘it became almost impossible to work and was an extremely stressful time and was making me incredibly unhappy.’

He and Miss Myers met for a drink in Henley-on-Thames to try to sort out the problems. He claims Miss Myers admitted she had feelings for him but was leaving for a new job.

After ending that evening on good terms and exchanging text messages in which Mr Ford said he had a good time, Mr Ford said Miss Myers launched a tirade of verbal abuse at him on her last day at the company.

ML_Sept_10_2014_7‘She stated I was a real piece of s***, a c*** and that I needed to get over myself,’ he said.

The tribunal heard that Miss Myers would frequently pull up outside the workshop before driving off when Mr Ford spotted her. He said he saw Miss Myers speaking with Mr Gibbon late one night and later found empty whiskey and vodka bottles in his office.

Jack Mitchell, representing Mr Gibbon, said Mr Ford enjoyed female attention as the lead singer of Motherload, citing press interviews where band members said ‘he loves it.’

He said Miss Myers, an American, may have inadvertently brushed her ‘large’ breasts against him in the cramped workshop but did not do so on purpose. He added that during the recorded meeting of December 13 or text messages with Mr Gibbon, Mr Ford made no mention of being harassed.

He claimed Mr Ford had flirted with Miss Myers when the pair first worked together and they had engaged in playful ‘high jinx’. He said her leaving food in his car was done in response to Mr Ford complaining about Miss Myers cooking for other work colleagues.

‘What you’ve done is taken an entirely innocent and generous act and twisted it to form some basis of a claim before this tribunal,’ said Mr Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell said Mr Ford only complained about Miss Myers after his girlfriend raised concerns about her, and only did so about her performance at work and not any harassment.

ML_Sept_10_2014_77He said Mr Ford had called Miss Myers ‘ugly’ and ‘fat’, which Mr Ford denied, and this caused their relationship to sour. Mr Mitchell said he was unsure of many dates relating to the accusations and claimed Mr Ford had written a diary of the alleged incidents in one go, after they occurred.

Miss Myers described the sexual harassment claims as ‘absolutely false,’ saying they had crippled her life.

She told the tribunal that when she first met Mr Ford they got on ‘like a house on fire’, admitting she had a crush on him initially.

However, she said the relationship soon turned sour, claiming the rock singer regularly bullied her, called her fat and ugly, made inappropriate sexual comments about her and at one point forced her to leave work in tears.

Miss Myers, from Highmoor, near Henley, said she had been ‘shocked and disgusted to discover the vulgar allegations’ made by Mr Ford after he left the furniture company.

She said: ‘While our relationship had been tumultuous and, at times, inappropriate, it was certainly never sexual.

ML_Sept_10_2014_8‘I have been completely distraught thinking I could possibly have done anything that could be misconstrued as sexually harassing.

‘I’ve begun to question everything I say to everyone, the very core of my personality, in intrinsic fear that my behaviour might be taken the wrong way.

‘I’ve lost countless hours of sleep from the stress. I’ve considered counselling.

‘These absolutely false allegations have stripped me of any shred of self-confidence and at times have left me physically ill and incapable of going in to work.

‘Everything I have done or said as a friend, such as cooking, or gift giving, has been turned into something tawdry and disgusting.

‘These false allegations have crippled my life and emotional stability for the better part of a year.’

After initially getting on well with Mr Ford, Miss Myers said he began to push things too far.

She told the hearing: ‘He would make lots of comments about me being a woman, and belonging in the kitchen. He also commented frequently on my weight and called me ugly.’


Miss Myers added that Mr Ford would regularly make inappropriate sexual remarks towards her and telling her she would never get a boyfriend.

Referring to the incident where she had left food in Mr Ford’s car, Miss Myers said he had thanked her for it and told her it was delicious.

She added that when they went for a drink on September 13 to clear the air, Mr Ford apologised for his behaviour.

However, she said one of the reasons she left the company in October was because he was so nasty all the time.

ML_Sept_10_2014_10When she returned to TGSC the next month she was given more responsibility and said Mr Ford had an ‘appalling attitude’, often taking long breaks and talking on his phone.

Since leaving the company, Mr Ford has set up another furniture company called Barrett and Ford, with another former employee at TGSC, Lee Barrett.

Mr Barrett told the tribunal that Miss Myers hosted a pre-Christmas breakfast at her home to which the rock singer was not invited.

‘Lucy joked that Tom’s Christmas present would be a P45,’ he said.

Miss Myers disputed this, saying Mr Ford was invited and that while she did make the joke, it was about herself and Mr Gibbon as well.

Mr Barrett said Miss Myers had a ‘very abrasive and combative nature’ and that her relationship with Mr Ford was strained at best.

Mr Gibbon told the hearing he was disappointed by Mr Ford’s lack of progress and slack timekeeping after several months at the company, and decided to make him redundant because he needed to make cutbacks at the business.

Mr Gibbon added that while Mr Ford and Miss Myers were initially friendly and fun-loving towards each other, it soon turned into a ‘love-hate relationship.’

‘It was becoming apparent that the mutual teasing was becoming more serious and personal insults between them were being traded regularly,’ he said.

‘They would constantly snipe at each other and the once playful, light-hearted banter had turned to mutual dislike.

‘Lucy was particularly upset by Tom’s personal remarks about her looks, body shape and size.

‘Once she came in on a Saturday morning to tell me how upset she was and how she wanted these verbal attacks to stop.’

Mr Gibbon admitted that despite finding the situation ‘distressing and inharmonious’, he did little to try to resolve the problem, and said he was unaware of any sexual advances made by Miss Myers towards Mr Ford.

The business owner added that he was disappointed by Mr Ford’s lack of progress at work in making products and that his effort began to wane.

He said he had ‘strong words’ with him on September 12 about his attitude, but things did not improve.

When Miss Myers’ returned for her second spell at the company, a position of greater responsibility than previously, Mr Gibbon claimed Mr Ford refused to do what she asked and soon began to resent requests from him as well.

Mr Gibbon said: ‘He did not like Lucy, he would not take orders from her. He did not like her being above him in the company.’

Mr Gibbon said he believed Mr Ford was only making the claim to try to get money out of the company.

Mr Ford’s band Motherload gigs regularly around the UK and is due to play in Europe this month. The group’s page has 1,978 likes on Facebook and they have played rock festivals including Bloodstock Open Air in Catton Park, Derbyshire.

He claims he was never given a contract of employment at The Good Shelf Company. He is suing for sexual harassment, unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal.

The tribunal continues.

Above article courtesy of Daily Mail

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