The former head of law firm Linklaters’ technology business has told an employment tribunal he did not sexually harass a junior contractor in his team.
At a hearing on 16 June, Partha Mudgil denied allegations made by a former junior female contractor for the firm’s Nakhoda technology team who said he had sexually harassed her.
The complainant alleged three incidents of sexual harassment in her claim. She claimed that Mudgil had harassed her while out at a team breakfast at the Jackson and Rye restaurant, that he had stood too close to her in her office, and that he had motioned for her to leave a bar with him.
Linklaters and Mudgil have denied all wrongdoing.
In the second day of the virtual hearing at the London Central Employment Tribunal, the claimant, representing herself, questioned Mudgil about the allegations.
The claimant asked Mudgil about the allegation that he had sexually harassed her by touching her leg under the table at the team breakfast.
“You said you do not recall sexually harassing a female colleague of yours under the table or rubbing the thigh of a female colleague of yours?” the claimant asked Mudgil.
“I did not sexually harass anyone at that event,” Mudgil said.
“Is there a possibility?” the claimant asked.
“No. Absolutely not,” he said.
“Is there a possibility you would have forgotten the incident?” the claimant asked.
“No. There is no possibility of me not remembering that I sexually harassed anyone,” Mudgil said.
The claimant then drew attention to what she said were discrepancies in his recollections of certain general conversations, and asked Mudgil whether if he had forgotten those details, he may have forgotten sexually harassing her.
“If you forget about long conversations you had with someone, there is a possibility you would have forgotten what you would have done under the table,” the claimant said.
“Having a general conversation with someone…many years ago is very different from actually assaulting someone,” Mudgil said.
The claimant had initially reported the alleged sexual harassment to the police after leaving Linklaters, the tribunal heard on 15 June.
She told the police that Mudgil had grabbed her buttocks in a cloakroom after a team meal at a restaurant, something he denied.
Barrister Charlotte Davies, representing Linklaters, said CCTV footage showed the full period from when the complainant and Mudgil entered the cloakroom until the time she left the restaurant “and it does not show Mr Mudgil grabbing your buttocks as you alleged”.
She said the reason the CCTV did not show that was “because he didn’t grab your buttocks… that simply didn’t happen”.
The police stopped investigating the alleged harassment after viewing the CCTV and considered questioning the claimant under caution for making a false allegation, Davies told the tribunal.
The claimant said the assault had taken place and it was included in her original employment tribunal claim, but she later withdrew it. However, she still maintained that it did take place.
“If the CCTV has not captured it, it does not mean it did not happen,” the claimant told the tribunal on 15 June.
The hearing continues.
To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth