“I only employ beautiful women” : Cancer company boss guilty of sex discrimination after writing sexist notes on PA’s CV
The boss behind a banned cancer ‘wonder drug’ has been found guilty of sex discrimination after writing “Red lipstick, heels – good” on his PA’s job application.
A tribunal heard that David Noakes also remarked after interviewing another woman: “We can’t hire her as she is ugly and overweight and I only employ beautiful women.”
Another time he reportedly asked: “How are we supposed to hire her, did you see what she was wearing and the size of her?
“We can’t have her on the frontline representing GcMaf looking like that.”
Noakes, 62, is chief executive of the pharmaceutical company behind the unlicensed ‘GcMaf’ drug which was banned earlier this year.
It claims to treat cancer and autism but health watchdogs said it may pose a significant risk to health and that blood plasma used to make it was not to be given to humans.
Noakes was taken to an Employment Tribunal by his former £40,000-a-year PA Lucia Pagliarone who said she witnessed sexist treatment after going to work for him.
Miss Pagliarone, 28, an attractive blonde, told the panel that shortly after starting her employment in July 2014 she found her CV in a pile of papers on Noakes’ desk.
On it was a note saying: “Red lipstick, heels, good; tattoos, do not approve; wearing a dress excellent’.
The tribunal also heard that during her employment Miss Pagliarone witnessed inappropriate remarks and angry outburst from Noakes – mostly towards women.
She also claimed that Noakes once told her that a colleague would “like me, only be polite to you if you are good-looking.”
Miss Pagliarone got a performance bonus of #500 in December 2014 but was sacked the following month after just six months with the firm.
The panel ruled that Noakes, who runs Guernsey-based pharmaceutical firm Immuno Biotech, was guilty of sex discrimination and ordered him to pay Miss Pagliarone £10,500.
They said that remarks he made were inappropriate and constituted an “intimidating, hostile and humiliating working environment” for her.
They added that such conduct, clearly based on sex, would affect the dignity of women in the workplace.
They stated: “The tribunal has been persuaded that insulting, gender-specific comments were uttered by Mr Noakes on multiple occasions and it was clear that Miss Pagliarone suffered a detriment.
“The applicant witnessed violent outburst from him with lots of swearing being commonplace, which the applicant found very intimidating.”
Miss Pagliarone also pursued Noakes for unfair dismissal based on her gender but the tribunal said she did not supply sufficient evidence to support the claim.
But the tribunal ruled that she was subject to verbal harassment.
The tribunal added that it was “breathtaking” that Noakes’ company, which has 28 staff, had no policies or procedures employees could refer to given the products it dealt with.
Noakes hit the headlines in February when GcMaf was banned by Guernsey officials and its UK factory was closed over fears materials used weren’t fit for human consumption.
The company claimed GcMAF was “the body’s way of becoming cancer free”, that 85% of people with autism “respond”, and “15% make full recoveries”.
It also claims “full recoveries in 70% of cases” of ME and chronic fatigue syndrome.
But experts said there was no evidence to support the claims.
The Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency also voiced concerns over whether the product is sterile and free from contamination.
MHRA investigators seized 10,000 vials of GcMAF when they inspected the firm’s Cambridgeshire factory.
The regulator said that GcMAF “may pose a significant risk to people’s health” and cautioned anyone who had used it to seek professional medical advice.
They said the product had not been not been tested for quality, safety or effectiveness.
Users and former users of the drug were urged to contact their GP.
Noakes was invited to defend his company on the BBC’s The One Show but stormed out of the interview threatening to smash the TV cameras.