Over a period of two years, he claims he was subject to a series of boundary-crossing behaviours, including making comments about his sexuality, attempting to hold his hand and even nibbling his ears.
Ben told Metro.co.uk: ‘He always used to make jokes about my ears. He would give me shoulder massages, rub my ears or play bite them. I’ve had to wipe saliva away from my ear in the past.
‘This is in the office, in front of everyone, he would joke around, pulling on my knee or play punching me. There was a whole thing of you just have to do what he wants.
‘On more than one occasion he tried to hold my hand. He said, “Let’s just pretend and see what people do.”
‘I was like, no let’s definitely not do that. It would have been a weird thing for friend to ask, never mind someone at work.
‘I had a boyfriend at the time, who he had met. It was super super inappropriate.’
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One in six people affected said they eventually left their jobs as a result of their experiences.
When Ben handed in his resignation at Cos, the alleged perpetrator stuck his middle finger up at him from across the office.
He added: ‘The thing that bothered me the most was, I’m really good at my job. I work really hard. I didn’t want what was happening to take away from my achievements.’
Ben spoke to HR about how he was feeling, but said the alleged behaviour was dismissed as ‘workplace banter’.
In emails seen by Metro.co.uk, he continued to follow up on the process once he left the company, and was told his feedback would be taken seriously, as ‘any allegations of this nature are investigated’.
Ben still has no idea if further action was ever taken and believes the alleged perpetrator has since been promoted.
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‘In my case, it feels like what happened was made fun of. I do think it wasn’t taken seriously because we are both men.
When contacted by Metro.co.uk, a spokesperson for Cos said they were unable to comment on Ben’s case.
They continued: ‘We do not believe the individual in question raised any formal grievance under Cos’s HR policies and grievance procedures, which would otherwise provide an opportunity and a framework for matters to be appropriately investigated in a timely manner with safeguards for all concerned.
Not his real name.