Woman awarded $500k for unwanted sex after function

A WOMAN will be awarded almost $500,000 for sexual harassment by a male co-worker after a judge found he had unwanted sex with her after a work function.

Chartered accountant Jemma Ewin's $476,163 Federal Court damages award will be the highest ever awarded for sexual harassment, News Corp reports.

While accountant Claudio Vergara was accused of rape, arrested but never charged, Federal Justice Mordecai Bromberg found he engaged in unwelcome sexual intercourse with Ms Ewin.

"Although rape has not been proved, Ms Ewin's belief that she was raped was a reasonable reaction to what she had in fact experienced,'' the judge said in his December 5 decision.

Ms Ewin was heavily intoxicated at the time and had repeatedly rejected her co-worker's sexual advances two days earlier.

Justice Bromberg found that on May 13, 2009, at a hotel near the Melbourne office of former Gold Coast-based company Living and Leisure Australia Ltd, Mr Vergara told Ms Ewin he wanted to have an affair with her.