After asking a female colleague, a senior executive of the nation’s most respected authority on workplace behavior was accused of sexual harassment and fired, he said that he had ‘done Basic Instinct’ in an attempt to get promoted.

John Woods from London sent suggestive messages to junior workers, offered sex bets and left a pair knickers on the desk of one woman.

When confronted, the Chief Conciliator for Acas (which makes guidelines for employees and employers) moaned about how the MeToo movement had changed the rules and raised the threshold for sexual harassment.

Acas sued the long-serving executive for gross misconduct. The case was won by him after his employer was found to not have followed their own guidelines in firing him.

He will not be paid compensation, though, after an employment tribunal found him guilty of several counts of shocking and sex harassment.

It was revealed that married Woods was also Head of Collective Conciliation and Arbitration at Acas. He was part of Acas’s senior leadership team and had been there nearly 40 years before he was fired in July 2019.

2018 was the year that details of his sexually predatory behavior were revealed after a senior female employee filed a complaint.

Long-serving Acas executive John Woods, of Colchester, Essex, was fired for gross misconduct but sued his employer for unfair dismissal - a case he has now won because his employer was found not to have followed its own rules in sacking him

John Woods (an Acas executive of long standing, Colchester, Essex) was terminated for gross misconduct. He then sued his employer for unfair termination. This case was won by him because the employer wasn’t following its rules when he was dismissed.

Woods, pictured above in 2016, sent suggestive messages to his peer and even once left a pair of knickers on a younger female employee's desk

Woods is pictured here in 2016. He sent his peer suggestive messages and left a pair knickers at a female colleague’s desk once.

Acas internal investigations found that as many as 10 females, up to thirty years younger than Woods were feeling subject to inappropriate behaviour from Woods over five years. 

Woods claimed that one woman was wearing a “nice pair” of pins, which he placed on one of his coworkers’ thighs, inviting another person to the hotel for sexual activity during a course and sending ‘barrages of text messages with innuendos, compliments, and kisses.

He “ostensibly” returned a pair knickers from a junior colleague (referred to only in the tribunal ruling as ‘L’) by placing them on her desk.

P asked a colleague about her Basic Instinct during a job interview. He suggested that she’d shown off her naked body the way Catherine Tramell, played by Sharon Stone in the classic thriller.

Woods recommended having sex bets with E and L. He made comments about L’s appearances, sent E photos of L wearing a bikini, and was flirtatious with many other women.

At one point Woods asked a younger female colleague if she'd 'done a Basic Instinct' to try to win promotion, a reference to Sharon Stone's character stripping naked in the acclaimed 1992 hit film

Woods once asked a female colleague younger than her if she had ‘done Basic Instinct to win promotion’. This was a reference Sharon Stone’s naked character in 1992’s hit film.

A photograph of him on holiday was sent to his coworker. It was funny because he joked that he was wearing her pants, which was heard by the panel.

According to colleagues, although they did not realize it initially, they realized that the tribunal had been told later that they felt ‘groomed and ‘gaslighted” by Woods. Women repeatedly rejected his advances and told him to ‘f*** off’.

Panel in London heard that Woods was attempting to make new female friends by adopting a certain pattern of behavior.

“He’s described as persistent, and his employees are unable to handle the behavior due to his seniority.

“The investigation revealed that Woods had made inappropriate comments and behaviours over the past five years. Some evidence supports Woods’ perception of being powerful and influential in Acas.

One text he sent a colleague said: ‘My weakness, anyway, is my fascination with changeling looks* your face alters so much, from soft, classically beautiful to*well, all sorts of things.

“Can you please reply to my messages within a maximum of 2 days? If you do reply, I would appreciate it. Give them the respect they deserve, for heaven’s sake*’

He told another woman that he reminded her of the ‘girls from school’ who promised to expose their knickers, but then ‘bend you fingers right back’ and give him Chinese burns.

Woods had sex with several of the women and was suspended at a hearing on gross misconduct.

However, he groaned that ‘things have changed’ since MeToo. He didn’t like the change but could understand. It appears that rules have changed.

He complained that the MeToo campaign has lowered standards for sexual harassment.

“Woods admitted to having a flirtatious style, but denied that it was sexual harassment.

He also stated that he liked the company of women more than men. However, he was outgoing and friendly with colleagues from both genders.

Woods (pictured) is said to have moaned: 'Things have changed since the MeToo movement, I don't like it but I can understand it. It seems that the rules have changed'

Woods, (pictured), is reported to have said that he moaned about how things have changed after the MeToo movement. Although it doesn’t suit me very well, it’s something I understand. It appears that the rules are changing’

David Khan, Employment Judge, said Woods did not show any remorse and violated his trust position.

Judge Khan stated that Woods held a high-ranking leadership position and was in a position where trust is as important as being an authority. Woods’ harassing behavior towards junior female colleagues was clearly evident.

He did not appear to have any understanding or regret about the effects of his actions on his fellow colleagues, though he said that some of his former colleagues couldn’t work with him anymore at his appeal…

“Woods believed that MeToo had made it simpler to support sexual harassment allegations.

Although Acas found that it was within its right to dismiss him, Acas’s judge found faults with its procedural procedure. Witnesses were unjustly annotated from the judge and he wasn’t given their statements.

Judge said that Acas took steps in connection to anonymity which went above its own policies and guidance.

“I consider the fact that Acas has responsibility for providing codes of practice, guidance and workplace procedures as well as advising the general public about their application.

Acas’s violation of its rules was criticised by Khan and Woods claims that they were unfairly dismissed are upheld.

He was not allowed to receive compensation because his conduct had been so bad, that he could have been dismissed for gross misconduct if the process hadn’t been correctly followed.