A female worker who suffered sexual harassment from her bosses has been awarded almost £27,000 by an employment tribunal.

The woman was employed by J&M Services, a courier company, run by Mervyn Johnston and Joe McFall.

The tribunal said she had been subjected to “disgracefully lewd comments” by both men, and that she was later unfairly sacked when she was late back from taking her child to a doctor’s appointment.

When trying to find new employment, her chances were weakened by what the tribunal called “a very negative and bad reference”.

The woman was the only female employee among the nine people working at company when she started at the firm in October 2011, and she informed the tribunal that at first things went well and she enjoyed her work. However, within weeks Mr Johnston and Mr McFall had begun to make remarks to her about her figure.

The court heard that the comments became increasingly crude and explicit in the run up to Christmas, but the woman said she could not leave her employment at that time because it would have been very difficult to find another job.

It was revealed that prior to Christmas other male directors from within the courier franchise were due to visit the business, and the female employee was told she should wear a mini-skirt and low fronted top and be prepared to give the visitors “a good time”.

On 9 January she had arranged for time off to take her child to the doctor but when she texted to say she would be back later than expected she received a reply “things were not working out” and the company would have to “let her go”.

The tribunal found that the woman had suffered a “very serious level of harassment” that was aggravated by the fact that it had come from the company owners.

Neither Mr Johnston nor Mr McFall appeared at the tribunal, choosing to give only a written response in which they disputed and denied the allegations.