Asghar Ali, 47, a boss at a solicitor firm, who asked a woman to marry him during her interview, despite him already being married, has been ordered to pay £20,000 for sexual harassment.

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After the victim got the job at the office, Mr Asghar told the young female lawyer he was going to put a bed in the office for her and then decided to sack her when she declined his advances and told him she had a boyfriend.

Mr Justice Kerr said: “This was a young woman at the start of her professional career, and Mr Ali was an older man in a position of power and authority”.

“During the initial job interview he asked her what her star sign was, and probably in a joking manner proposed marriage, although he was already married”.

He added: “From the first meeting in the job interview he treated her in a demeaning and disrespectful manner, as a woman evidently to be present in the office for his pleasure and gratification, rather than to work and develop her skills as a lawyer.

“When she politely rejected his advances he turned nasty, she lost her job as a result.”

Mr Asghar, and his firm, AA Solicitors in Bolton were ordered to pay £20,000 for injury to feelings, aggravated damages, loss of earnings and interest.

Mr Asghar appealed the decision saying the payout was too generous and ought to be cut but the Employment Appeals Tribunal rejected the appeal saying the victim deserved every penny.