Sexual assault victim sacked after taking ‘too many sick days’

A sexual assault victim has claimed she was sacked after taking too many sick days in the run-up to her attacker’s trial.

The 48-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was assaulted by Jason Okwara, who was jailed for nine-years last month for the rape of two women and sexual assault another.

Jailing him the High Court in Glasgow, a judged said the evidence was “disturbing in the sense that you clearly believed that you were entitled to sexual intercourse with women whenever you wanted it, whether the women were willing or not.”

One of his victims has now claimed that she lost her job as a call handler at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) because she took too many sick days as a result of the trial.

The cancer survivor had taken 79 days’ sickness absence in the year to September 2017.

She told the Scotland’s Daily Record newspaper that she had told her manager about the case and the effect it was having on her mental health.

“At the start of last year, I was told I would have to give evidence at Okwara’s trial in November,” she said. “I was very worried about it and my health and work suffered even more.”

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She added: “I told my line manager about the case and the effect it was having on me – something the HMRC are now denying.”

The woman who worked for HMRC for two-and-a-half years said had later received a dismissal letter which said that she“did not advise her absences may be linked to the serious sexual assault.”

An HMRC spokesperson said: “We do not comment on individual staff members. We are committed to treating all our staff fairly and with consideration at all times”

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