A marketing specialist sexually harassed by her boss has been awarded $6000 in compensation.
Shucheng Zhang, also known as Candice Zhang, worked at Auckland-based export business JCM International from October 23, 2018 to April 2019.
Zhang claimed that during her time there she was sexually harassed and had lodged a personal grievance.
She claimed her boss Johnston Fan, who is also known as Bo Fan, sent WeChat messages which she saw as sexually provocative, including attachments she believed were nude pictures.
Fan denied that he acted inappropriately and said he respected Zhang.
Zhang described Fan in 2018 telling her things about his relationship with his wife, which she said made her feel uncomfortable.
The Employment Relations Authority heard that at 10.35pm on a December 2018 night, Fan had texted Zhang asking "What are you doing darling. You are the most beautiful in my heart."
Zhang replied with "What??".
Fan then said "I'm just being frank after I got drunk and now spilling my heart and the truth. Don't mind every colleague in our company is the most beautiful and most adorable."
Three days later while they were messaging about business, Fan sent through some screenshots and then texted: "Oh my, I sent two pics of what I shouldn't send. Thankfully you didn't see it. All nudes."
After Zhang responded with three emojis showing "speechless", Fan replied "If you want to see it, I'll send it to you again for you to look at."
Zhang deleted the two pictures without looking at them.
But Fan provided his phone to the authority, which accepted that he did not send a photo of a nude person. Fan explained that in Mandarin, the word "nude" meant naked price.
Authority member Nicola Craig however found Fan's combined use of wording and emoji, and his responses to be sexually suggestive.
Other WeChat exchanges also showed Fan asking Zhang to go out for late night snacks, and comments about her body in a photo she posted.
Fan had also invited Zhang to go on a business trip with him to Australia and asked her to go for a late night snack at 2.14am when they were messaging about her pay.
"I do not accept that Mr Fan's messages were all innocuous in the way he suggests. His texts were, either explicitly or implicitly, of a sexual nature or involved inviting Ms Zhang out in circumstances and at times unrelated to work," Craig said.
"These messages were unwelcome to her ... and had detrimental effect on Ms Zhang's job satisfaction."
She ordered JCM to pay Zhang a compensation for sexual harassment of $6000.
Zhang was also awarded $550 as arrears of wages, $1012 as holiday pay and interest on those sums from May 5, 2019 to the date of payment.