Sex-pest ruling puts fire station under threat of bankruptcy

An extraordinary judicial ruling – awarding €300,000 in compensation to a proven sex-pest – has put the future of an urban fire station at risk.

Judges at Almada’s labour court (Tribunal do Trabalho) heard from a number of witnesses how a former fire-fighter in charge of driving ambulances made improper advances towards them.

Some of the issues, going back many years, centred on “unusual caresses of the hands”, while others involved full-blown propositions and sexual-harassment phone calls.

The man identified only as ‘C.S’ hounded one woman to the point that she had to take time off work for depression, claims national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

“The situation generated jealously to the point of ending in divorce”, the paper added.

Thus, as a result of a rising number of complaints, fire chiefs launched a disciplinary hearing and ended up dismissing C.S. in 2012.

The man then initiated his case for unfair dismissal, and last week heard that he had the right to €300,000 in compensation for unpaid overtime, the number of days worked and overdue interest.

The ignominy of the ruling is that it apparently has no recourse to appeal. Seixal fire station is simply stuck with it – and fire chief José Raimundo has told reporters that it now faces bankruptcy.

“We may have to close our doors”, he told CM. “My concern is that the court has put this institution at risk”.

The only hope, says the paper, is in what it terms “clarification of the ruling” – not giving any indication of how long this will take.

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