A WOMAN who worked at a factory in Somerset says she was subject to constant, targeted sexual harassment and threatening behaviour by a senior supervisor.

Marie Nebesářová, 53, said she was “sexually harassed for years” by a senior supervisor at the Oscar Mayer site in Chard - and has now taken her claims further, with her legal representatives issuing a letter of claim against the firm.

Oscar Mayer says the supervisor no longer works for the company and it was "saddened" by the complaint and that the welfare of staff is their "utmost priority".

Ms Nebesářová claims that after she refused to have sex with the supervisor, he intervened with the recruitment firm that hired her in order to prevent her securing a permanent employment contract at the factory.

“I am still haunted by the experience of working at Oscar Mayer’s Chard factory,” said Ms Nebesářová.

“I was sexually harassed for years by a senior supervisor and neither Oscar Mayer nor (the recruitment agency) did anything about it.

“When I asked for help, my hours were cut and the harassment and threats only intensified.

“In the end I was told that they had no more work for me.

“I was so frightened for my safety that I moved half-way across the country, relying on welfare support to get by.

“My mental health and my financial stability collapsed.

“No one has ever admitted wrongdoing or sought to make amends, despite my efforts to put them on notice about (him) for a long time.”

She says the supervisor would arrange to take his breaks at the same time as Ms Nebesářová and repeatedly ask her where she lived and offer to drive her home after work, or visit her.

He also fantasised in front of colleagues about what he wanted to do to her sexually, she says.

Ms Nebesářová claims he also stopped her from getting a permanent job at the factory when she refused to have sex with him and that he told her her would make sure no employment agencies would give her a job.

The recruitment firm later told Ms Nebesářová that no more work was available for her at the firm and she then found it difficult to get work elsewhere.

Ms Nebesářová has now launched legal action with law firm McAllister Olivarius - a company that specialises in clients who have experienced discrimination or abuse.

“Ms Nebesářová endured a campaign of sexual harassment, sexual advances and even job offers in exchange for sex from one of the factory’s supervisors,” said Honza Cervenka, a lawyer for McAllister Olivarius, which has filed a letter of claim.

“Her case shines a stark light on the dark underbelly of many migrant-dependent industries.

“Companies like (these), which heavily recruit short-term workers from abroad often with little to no fluency in English, must ensure a safe and harassment-free environment for all of their staff.

“We understand that the illegal harassment that Ms Nebesářová had to endure ... was not unique to her.”

A spokesperson for Oscar Mayer said: “We were saddened to receive a complaint 18 months ago from Ms Nebesářová, one of our valued agency workers, concerning the behaviour of a then colleague.

“We will not tolerate unprofessional conduct in the workplace in any circumstance at any time. Where a complaint is made we will conduct an investigation.

“We take our health and safety responsibilities seriously.

“Where on-site health and safety incidents occur they are immediately reported, records are kept and appropriate remedial action is taken.

“The welfare of our staff is, always has been and always will be, our utmost priority.

“We thoroughly investigated Ms Nebesářová’s concerns in the summer of 2019.

“The subject of her complaint no longer works with us.

“However, it appears Ms Nebesářová’s advisors filed a legal claim on her behalf at the end of December 2020, which we are handling through legal channels.

“We consider it inappropriate to comment publicly on it further at this time.”