Davidar sexual harassment suit settled out of court

Toronto: The sexual harassment scandal that cost David Davidar his job as president of Penguin Canada has been buried with his accuser Lisa Rundle settling her lawsuit with him and the publishing company amicably.

The Indian-born boss of Penguin Canada was sacked June 8 following a sexual harassment complaint by Rundle. Initially, both Penguin and Davidar said he was leaving voluntarily.

In her lawsuit, Rundle, former director of digital publishing and foreign rights at the publishing company, had sought $523,000 from Penguin for sexual harassment for three years and then an assault by Davidar at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

The scandal ended quietly Tuesday with all the three parties settling the lawsuit and pledging not to divulge anything to the media.

"We can now advise that all allegations have been addressed and all matters resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. None of the parties will be commenting further to the media," Davidar`s lawyer Peter Downard said in an e-mail to media outlets.

A spokesperson for Penguin also confirmed that "everything has been settled" amicably. It was not known how much Penguin Canada and Davidar will pay Rundle.

Following the lawsuit, Davidar had admitted only a "consensual flirtatious relationship" with Rundle.

"David Davidar has not sexually harassed anyone and has not assaulted anyone...," his lawyer had said in a statement June 20.

"Commencing in late 2005, Davidar and Lisa Rundle had offices next to each other at Penguin...in 2007, their friendship became flirtatious," the lawyer had said, admitting that "the former Penguin-Canada CEO and Davidar kissed on two occasions".

"The first was in Rundle`s room during the October 2008 Frankfurt Book Fair referred to in Rundle`s claim. However, contrary to Rundle`s claim, Davidar did not bully his way into her room nor did he force himself upon her."

Hitting back, Rundle`s lawyer issued a statement the same day, saying, "...throughout the period of harassment, Davidar was sending Lisa inappropriate e-mails and text messages. Commencing in late 2009, she began to retain some of the messages. (They) included Davidar e-mailing Lisa on or about October 21, 2009, that he could `do very little except think of` her which was `seriously annoying`; sending her a Hindi/ Urdu love song in or about October 23, 2009, in which he asked her not to embarrass him by asking around for a translation, when the song indicated `My heart, this love of mine, become yours now`.

"Davidar would send text messages to Lisa repeatedly. For example, on May 19, 2009, Davidar indicated that `it took all (his) self-control to stop (him)self from getting up and kissing (her) scars`, adding that he thought she was `utterly gorgeous` and he `drank (her) in hungrily`.

"On some occasions, Davidar would punish her by refusing to speak with her and would exclude her from regular business conversations. Davidar would also, at various times, engage in pouting, refusing to deal with her, and would attempt to isolate her from her co-workers.

"Davidar`s harassment intensified to a degree where on several occasions throughout 2008, he would call Lisa`s cellular telephone and advise her that he was outside her home late in the night, and would beg her to let him in. She would not agree, with the result that the situation at work the following day would be even more toxic."

Davidar, who launched Penguin operations in India in the mid-1980s, is likely to leave for India with his wife Rachna soon.



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