A computer keyboard lit by a displayed cyber code is seen in this illustration picture


  • Karina Gasparova was an IT worker at essDOCS
  • She alleged her boss, Alexander Goulandris, tried to hit on her through coded language in emails
  • A judge threw her sexual harassment and discrimination case out

A tech employee in England attempted to sue her "rich and powerful" boss for sexual harassment and discrimination after mistaking abbreviations he used in emails, such as "xx" and "???," as codes inviting her to have a sexual relationship with him.

The IT worker, identified as Karina Gasparova, filed a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against her boss, Alexander Goulandris, and outlined alleged misbehavior dating back to 2019 before an employment tribunal at London Central Court, The Independent reported.

A judge threw out the case after the court heard Gasparova's claims.

Gasparova claimed that Goulandris' use of "xx" in emails he sent her meant that he wanted to kiss her, "yy" was code for sexual contact, and "???" was his way of asking her "when she would be ready" to engage in a sexual relationship.

Gasparova cited one email as proof of Goulandris' alleged desire to "engage in sexual acts" with her.

"Can you please complete the following: The solution us [sic] currently used by xx Agris companies and yy Barge lines in corn cargoes in south-north flows in the ???? waterways," Goulandris wrote in the email to Gasparova, according to the BBC.

"Also, can you remind me of what the balance of the rollout will be and the approx. timing. Thanks," Goulandris added.

However, the court ruled that the email was a "genuine request for information" and did not mean Goulandris wanted to have a sexual relationship with her.

Gasparova also claimed in the lawsuit that when her boss used his initials "AJG" as a file name, it actually stood for "A Jumbo Genital," and that he touched her hand one day while reaching for a computer mouse.

She alleged that he used an "alluring voice" to wish her "a nice evening" and that he "stared at her" and allegedly touched her leg under the table in November 2019. Gasparova also claimed that she was treated poorly after she "rejected his advances."

But the tribunal ruled that the 2019 incident was "innocuous" and accidental. It also said that Gasparova "skewed perception of everyday events" and "demonstrated a tendency to make extraordinary allegations without evidence," per BBC.

Gasparova told the tribunal that she told the higher-ups at their "paperless global trade management" company essDOCS about Goulandris' conduct in April 2021, but her complaint was rejected.

She resigned soon after her grievance letter was dismissed, she said during the hearing.

Gasparova was ordered to pay essDOCS £5,000 ($6,200) to cover costs of litigation.

Man holds laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture