Woman whose photo was featured in Sydney Water’s ad with the tagline ‘feel good, grease!’ awarded payout
Wife left horrified when her photo was featured in a work promotion poster with the tagline “Feel good – smear!” gets a HUGE payout
- Photo of a customer service representative used on a misleading workplace safety poster
- The photo was next to highly suggestive text that gave rise to sexual comments
- Reem Yelda could not face colleagues and left her job after filing a complaint
A woman on a spine safety poster urging her male-dominated workplace to “feel good – grease!” has received $ 200,000 in damages.
Customer service rep Reem Yelda filed a sexual harassment complaint in 2017 about how she was portrayed in promotional materials posted around Sydney Water facilities.
In large letters above a picture of Mrs. Yelda stretching out, was the phrase, “Feel good – grease!”
This safety poster, produced by Sydney Water and Vitality Works, resulted in a huge payoff to the woman in the photo, Reem Yelda, who couldn’t face her colleagues after receiving suggestive comments when it was published.
A male employee who encouraged Ms. Yelda to file a complaint in April 2016 said his first impression of the poster was that the woman pointed to ‘smearing’.
He only realized it was part of an injury prevention program when he read the entire poster, he told the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Ms. Yelda left the workplace shortly after filing the complaint.
Sydney Water, which lost an appeal against NCAT’s finding of sexual harassment, said it accepted that Ms. Yelda was somewhat embarrassed and sad.
But that was tempered by her lack of immediate response when she first saw the poster in March 2016 and her comment ‘I don’t want to make a big deal about this at this stage’ when she complained about the poster in April 2016.
She also had the poster distributed in the media nationwide, Sydney Water said.
Vitality Works, which produced the poster, apologized but said there was a clear link between the breach and Ms. Yelda’s subsequent medical and employment problems.
Sydney Water and Vitality Works paid Ms. Yelda $ 100,000 each for the poster
Both companies argued that damages of about $ 10,000 were appropriate.
But after finding Ms. Yelda a “credible, trustworthy, and honest” witness, NCAT accepted that she had suffered psychological damage and loss of income.
Despite being considered a good and competent worker in the male-dominated workforce, the former customer liaison officer was unable to face the people in Sydney Water after the poster was displayed, the tribunal said.
NCAT calculated hair loss and damage at $ 318,280, but could not award more than $ 100,000 to each respondent.