Woman agent ‘groped’ by manager says commission-based structure encourages sexual abuse in industry

A woman estate agent who says she was sacked from her job as a negotiator after she complained of sexual harassment has claimed that the commission-based payment structure in the industry makes abuse by senior managers more likely.

Joy (not her real name) said: “I think it is the sort of job where it gives a male manager the opportunity to abuse if that’s what they want to do, because normally the manager distributes the leads.

“With the pay structure of people being so heavily commissioned, the pressure to impress your boss is there, so I don’t know how that can change.”

Joy who, with her husband, now runs her own estate agency, was in her early forties when she lost her job.

She told the Huffington Post that a male manager asked to speak to her one day in a room in the office.

When they were alone, she says: “He grabbed me for a full crotch hug and then … he held my face and kissed both my cheeks.”

Although the manager’s actions made her feel very “uncomfortable”, she says “the company’s actions were worse”.

She says that there was a “very old boys network culture” at her workplace and was concerned that this man had “access to all these really young negotiators” – most of whom were female.

“He would just come into the office … and grab a very young negotiator next to me and give her kisses on each cheek and I just thought he is strolling into every office in the company and just doing that to women on a pretext of being friendly,” she told the publication.

She believes that his actions towards women in the offices amounted to a “complete power play”.

She complained to the company’s management team and was assured that she would not be alone with the manager again. However, within three weeks she was sacked. She believes the two incidents were related, as she had been doing well at work.

As she had been employed for under a year, she did not feel she could challenge the decision. She said she had not felt like a victim when the original ‘groping’ incident happened, but that the company’s reaction “then victimised me”.

She went on to find a job with another agent, but her confidence was badly affected. Every Sunday for six months she would cry at the thought of going into work the next day.

She said she lived in fear of being asked to go into a room for a chat with the boss and then being sacked for no reason.



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  1. smile please

    As dreadful as an experience as this was for Joy, and as pathetic as the chap was. It’s ridiculous to blame a commission based salary on this.

    What next blaming contracts that stipulates you have to be in your place of work at a certain time?

    Also I am getting a little fed up of the male bashing from women. They are just as capable at abusing their ‘power’ when in a position of importance. It sadly is seldom taken as seriously.

    Can we agree any  abuse of position is unacceptable. Full stop.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    As a 45 year old man (now very happily employed) I can attest to the horrible “Sunday Evening Feeling.   I’ve worked in jobs that made me cry on a Sunday night because I knew I had a week from hell coming up.

    I agree with @smileplease, commission is not the reason for that manager’s bad behaviour, he was just a evil a**hole – unfortunately the world appears to be full of them.

    I think that, if I were to set up my own estate agency, I would pay a pool commission that was proportionate to customer service. I wouldn’t let the staff organise their reviews, it would be done by someone who was not on the same package.   I’m not talking about how many Trustpilot (!) reviews but something a bit more internal than that.

    At this stage, I’ve not thought about it hard enough to have anything other than a vague idea, but it might just work…


    1. AgentV

      I think that, if I were to set up my own estate agency

      Out of interest, what are the main factors stopping you? Which area in the country are you in?

  3. fluter

    Any form of sexual harassment by either sex is plain wrong. Since the early 80’s I have worked for small independents, medium-sized regional firms and large corporates in mostly commission-based environments and never once did I see or hear of any issues of this nature. I think its a case of a few bad apples as there always are in any walk of life.

  4. gk1uk2001

    I’ve worked in positions with a commission based salary structure pretty much my whole working life, under a variety of male and female managers, and never once been groped. Guess that blows that theory right out of the water then.


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