A SALES manager who was told to “stand in a bikini to increase sales” and called “my b****” by a colleague has won a £5,000 pay out.

Wioleta Gannon launched a sexual harassment claim against Westcliff security firm Verisure Services after derogatory remarks were sent in a work WhatsApp group.

An employment tribunal heard that the group chat received an image of a naked woman by branch manager Robert Palmer in 2016, who also allegedly told her to “stand in a bikini to increase sales” in February 2017.

Rico Vaz took over as branch manager for Southend in May 2017 after Mr Palmer was dismissed.

The WhatsApp group was later sent a message by senior manager Dwayne Desilva saying “Listen guys! I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re all my b******.”.

Mr Desilva and Mr Vaz later claimed the comments were “banter”, but employment judge Christina Hyde ruled that it was “perfectly reasonable” for Mrs Gannon to take it as sexual harassment.

The judge said it was a “spur of the moment comment”, but also highlighted that Mr Vaz had told Mrs Gannon she was being “toxic”, and said “If you’re not happy...then find something else” and removed her from the group.

She said: “Mr Desilva, who the tribunal did not consider to be an exemplar of sensitivity, continued by asking the claimant how many sales she had. The claimant, the tribunal considered rightly, interpreted this as a sarcastic comment.

“The tribunal considered that Mr Desilva saw it as part of the continuing ‘banter’.

“She responded by saying she was turning off her phone.”

Mr Vaz later told the tribunal that the comment was to “provoke” his team with “some traditional banter to get everyone pumped to do more sales than the east”.

He said: “Create some friendly rivalry competition for sales men is healthy.

“It was a very innocent comment that was designed to give guys extra motivation to compete with east branch.”

However, Judge Hyde disagreed with this, saying Mr Vaz’ “continued criticism” of Mrs Gannon for objecting to the message was “consistent” with harassment and the following messages by Mr Vaz were consistent with victimisation.

The judge ordered Mrs Gannon be paid compensation of £5,000 for “injury to feelings”.