Days after announcing that he was voluntarily quitting Penguin International as its CEO, India-born David Davidar has now said the company had terminated him in the wake of a sexual harassment suit slapped against him by a former woman colleague, who is demanding $523,000 in damages.

“Earlier this week it was announced that I would be leaving Penguin Canada. At Penguin's request, I agreed to publicly state that my departure was voluntary. The truth is that a former colleague accused me of sexual harassment and Penguin terminated my employment,” Mr. Davidar, 52, said.

His statement came as Lisa Rundle, former Rights and Contracts Director of Penguin Canada, filed a sexual harassment suit against him.

Ms. Rundle filed the $523,000 suit by way of statement of claim on Thursday in an Ontario Superior Court of Justice, alleging that Mr. Davidar, who was also President of Penguin Canada, sexually harassed her repeatedly over the past three years, culminating in outright assault at the ‘Frankfurt Book Fair' last fall, and that she was fired after complaining to superiors about his “twisted treatment” of her, Globe and Mail reported.

Ms. Rundle, who used to look after digital publishing and foreign rights for Penguin Canada, is claiming damages of $423,000 from Penguin for “wrongful” dismissal and the “harsh, vindictive and malicious fashion” with which it allegedly treated her following her complaints against Mr. Davidar. She is also seeking damages of $100,000 against Mr. Davidar personally.

According to a statement released by Penguin Canada: “Ms. Rundle also made a number of claims relating to Penguin Canada including wrongful termination.”

However, Penguin Canada contends that she was “not terminated” by it, rather she informed the company of her decision to leave “after having declined to pursue other career opportunities within the organisation.”

In a statement emailed to the media, Mr. Davidar said he was “utterly shocked by the allegations” that he sexually harassed Ms. Rundle. He intended to fight the suit in court and was “certain that the truth will prevail.”

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Life of lettersOctober 26, 2012

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