Tech worker sues boss after mistaking ‘xx and ???’ abbreviations he wrote in emails to her were sexual advances

A tech employee in England attempted to sue her former boss because she thought the email abbreviations he used, including “xx” and “???,” were codes for requests for sex.

According to a report by the Independent, Karina Gasparova, an IT employee at “paperless global trade management,” filed a sexual harassment and discrimination case against her supervisor Alexander Goulandris documenting alleged wrongdoing dating back to 2019.

An employment tribunal at London Central Court heard Gasparova’s accusations, and a judge dismissed the case.

She asserted that Goulandris used the letters “xx” in emails to her as attempts to kiss her, the letter “yy” as a code for having sex with her, and the letter “???” as a question about “when she would be ready” for a sexual relationship.

Gasparova, who represented herself in court, pointed to an email as evidence of her claims, arguing it showed Goulandris’ alleged desire to “engage in sexual acts.”

“Can you please complete the following: The solution is currently used by xx Agris companies and yy Barge lines in corn cargoes in south-north flows in the ???? waterways,” Goulandris wrote in the email to Gasparova, citing evidence that was heard in court.

“Also, can you remind me of what the balance of the rollout will be and the approx. timing. Thanks.”

The tribunal said the email was a “genuine request for information” and did not insinuate Goulandris wanted a sexual relationship.

Gasparova additionally claimed that when Goulandris changed a file name to his initials “AJG,” the acronym actually stood for “A Jumbo Genital” and that he touched her hand one day while reaching for a computer mouse. She also argued that Goulandris used “an alluring voice” to tell her to “have a nice evening,” and that he “stared at her” and allegedly touched her leg under a table during an incident in November 2019.

The tribunal ruled that the 2019 incident involving his hand and leg was “innocuous” and accidental.

The judge threw the case out and ruled Gasparova “skewed perception of everyday events” and “demonstrated a tendency to make extraordinary allegations without evidence”.

Gasparova told the tribunal that she told senior executives at the company that Goulandris treated her poorly because she “rejected his advances.”

Gasparova, who was hired at the company in 2019, filed a formal grievance letter in April 2021 against Goulandris over the alleged incidents. She resigned after the complaint was rejected, according to the outlet.

After the ruling, Gasparova was ordered to pay £5,000,, to the company to cover legal costs.


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