The head of a pharmaceutical company wrote “red lipstick, heels — good” on the CV of a woman he was interviewing to be his new PA, an employment tribunal has heard.
David Noakes, 62, runs Immuno Biotech, a firm which earlier this year claimed to have a new drug known as GcMaf that could cure autism and cancer among other ailments.
His PA, Lucia Pagliarone, was dismissed in January after less than six months with the Guernsey-based firm.
Ms Pagliarone, 28, told the tribunal that shortly after joining the company she found the notes Mr Noakes made during interviews for the job she got.
In addition to the comments on her own CV, he had dismissed other applicants he felt were fat or badly dressed. Mr Noakes allegedly remarked after one interview: “We can’t hire her as she is ugly and overweight and I only employ beautiful women.”
On another occasion, he reportedly asked: “How are we supposed to hire her, did you see what she was wearing and the size of her? We can’t have her on the frontline… looking like that.”
Mr Noakes was taken to the tribunal by Ms Pagliarone, who told the panel that she found her CV in a pile of papers on his desk with a note that said: “Red lipstick, heels, good; tattoos, do not approve; wearing a dress, excellent.”
She also claimed that Mr Noakes once told her that a colleague would “like me, only be polite to you if you are good looking”. She received a performance bonus of £500 in December 2014 but was dismissed the following month.
The panel ruled that Mr Noakes was guilty of sexual discrimination and awarded Ms Pagliarone £10,500. They said his remarks were inappropriate and created an “intimidating, hostile and humiliating working environment”. In its ruling, the tribunal stated: “The tribunal has been persuaded that insulting, gender-specific comments were uttered by Mr Noakes on multiple occasions and it was clear that Ms Pagliarone suffered a detriment.
“The applicant witnessed violent outbursts from him with lots of swearing being commonplace, which the applicant found very intimidating.”
Health watchdogs have warned that GcMaf, the drug developed by Immuno Biotech, may pose a significant risk to health and that blood plasma used to make it should not to be given to humans. The medicine and healthcare products regulatory agency said it had not been tested for quality, safety or effectiveness.