New details emerge in Penguin sexual harassment case

<p>New details have come to light over the sexual harassment case dogging Penguin Canada, which <a href="http://www.quillandquire.com/google/article.cfm?article_id=11335" target="_blank"><em>Quill and Quire</em> </a>describes as &quot;paint[ing] a damning picture of what allegedly went on within the company&quot;.</p><p>Over the weekend, it emerged that former Penguin Canada president David Davidar was facing sexual harassment charges by former employee Lisa Rundle. Although none of the people involved are now talking to the press, <em>Q&amp;Q</em> reports one of Rundle&rsquo;s claims against Penguin itself is that the company&rsquo;s human resources department was aware of prior sexual harassment by Davidar of at least one other employee. </p><p>She is named as former executive assistant Samantha Francis, who gave <em>Q&amp;Q</em> permission to run her name in the article.</p><p>According to the claim, in summer 2008 Francis filed a complaint against Davidar with vice-president of human resources Ann Wood, and also forwarded the complaint to Allan Reynolds, president and chief executive of Pearson Canada, Penguin Canada&rsquo;s parent company. </p><p>Rundle states that Davidar showed her a copy of Francis&rsquo;s complaint and told her that Francis had since &ldquo;come to her senses&rdquo; and backed down. Roughly eight months later, Francis left the company.</p><p>Rundle claims her own harassment began in 2007, culminating at last year&rsquo;s Frankfurt Book Fair, when Davidar is said to have pushed his way into Rundle&rsquo;s hotel room and forcibly kissed her.</p><p>Rundle is now claiming $422,910 against Penguin for wrongful dismissal and $100,000 in damages against Davidar. According to the claim, &ldquo;her dismissal was retaliatory to her making a sexual harassment complaint &hellip; and thus wrongful.&rdquo;</p><p>Penguin released a brief statement Friday saying, &ldquo;Ms. Rundle was not terminated by Penguin Canada, but rather she advised the company of her decision to leave after having declined to pursue other career opportunities within the organization.&rdquo;</p><p>Davidar said he was &ldquo;shocked&rdquo; by the allegations and intends to defend himself &ldquo;vigorously in the courts.&rdquo;</p>