Woman featured in Sydney Water Spine Safety poster urging staff to ‘feel good – lubricate!’ received $ 200,000 in damages.

Former Sydney Water employee Reem Yelda filed a sexual harassment complaint in 2017 after seeing how she was portrayed in promotional material posted at her facilities.

In large print, above a stretching image of Yelda was the phrase, “Feel good – lubricate!”

She said she was in disbelief and felt like a “sex object” after male colleagues emailed her saying “Who is the girl in the picture ??” and “Good advice man, but a little too much info for me !!!!”.

The A3 poster, displayed from February to April 2016, was also placed outside the men’s washroom at Sydney Water’s Ryde Depot.

A male worker who encouraged Yelda to file a complaint in April 2016 said his first impression of the poster was to see the woman point the finger at “lubricate”.

He realized it was part of an injury prevention program only when he read the whole poster, he told the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Court.

Yelda left the workplace shortly after filing a complaint.

Sydney Water, who lost an appeal against the NCAT’s sexual harassment finding, said she accepts that Yelda is in some embarrassment and distress.

But this was moderated by her lack of immediate reaction when she first saw the poster in March 2016 and her comment “I don’t want to do much with it at this point” complaining about the poster. in April 2016.

She had also circulated the poster nationwide in the media, Sydney Water said.

Vitality Works, who produced the poster, apologized, but said there was no clear connection between its violation and Yelda’s subsequent medical and employment issues.

Both companies argued that damages of approximately $ 10,000 were appropriate.

But, having found Yelda a “credible, reliable and honest” witness, the NCAT admitted that she suffered psychological harm and loss of earnings.

Despite being seen as a good and competent worker in the predominantly male workforce, the former Customer Liaison Officer was unable to face the folks at Sydney Water after the poster went off. been posted, the court said.

NCAT calculated his loss and damages at $ 318,280, but could not award more than $ 100,000 to each respondent.