A FORMER agency worker says she was sacked ‘for her own safety’ after reporting alleged sexual harassment at the Student Loans Company (SLC).

The Darlington woman is the second in recent weeks to claim she was sacked by agency giant Manpower after lodging sexual harassment complaints.

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The 21-year-old came forward after reading the story of a teenager dismissed within hours of reporting alleged harassment at the SLC's Darlington offices.

She believes the cases highlight a lack of adequate employment rights for agency workers and is calling for more to be done to protect them in the workplace.

The woman reported harassment around two years ago after allegedly being targeted by an older colleague at the SLC.

She says the man subjected her to weeks of harassment, including an alleged incident in which he rubbed his crotch against her when she bent over.

She said: “I couldn’t go to work without being harassed and it was disgusting – he was saying and doing things you’d never do to a young girl.”

She claims the man was suspended for a week but threatened her with violence when he returned.

The woman reported the threats and says she was sacked a day later.

She said: “The day after reporting him, Manpower said my contract was being terminated for my own safety and I’d have to leave.

“It was disgusting, getting sacked is an awful thing to happen.

“It was easier to get rid of me as a temporary worker than him as a permanent one and it’s terrible that agency workers don’t have the same rights.”

The woman attempted to take action against Manpower but had to drop the case due to ill health.

She said: “I tried to move on but read the article and realised the same thing was still happening.

“It needs to stop - how many times is this going to happen before something is done?

“People are getting away with it and something serious could happen.”

A spokeswoman for the SLC said all allegations had been investigated appropriately and in accordance with processes and procedures.

She said any claims of employee misconduct were investigated thoroughly and added: “SLC are not able to comment further on any details relating to the specific matter.”

A spokeswoman for the Manpower Group said the matter had been investigated fully at the time.

She added: “Manpower Group always takes allegations of this nature very seriously.

“We are unable to comment further.”