Article written by Simran Lalli, Solicitor, Employment department
A female City banker has been awarded over £2 million in one of the largest pay-outs by a UK Employment Tribunal on the grounds of discrimination and unequal pay based on gender.
The banker, who worked for a French bank, was paid significantly less than her male colleagues over a four-year tenure and comes two years after she had won her case for gender discrimination. She discovered that her pay was 25% less than that of a male colleague in a similar role, which grew to 85% in three years.
The said employee claimed to have been on the receiving end of disparaging comments during her time with the organisation and even found a witch’s hat on her desk following a night of heavy drinking. The Employment Tribunal found the employee to have been subjected to ‘direct sex discrimination and victimisation’. The Tribunal found that managers at the firm behaved “spitefully and vindictively” because she raised concerns about her pay and that their motive was discriminatory.
The Judge ordered the firm to pay over £217,000 for lost salary, over £117,000 for lost bonuses, more than £850,000 for harm to future earnings, £35,000 for injury to her feelings and over £22,000 for loss of congenial employment. This is on top of the £667,380 already paid out by the bank. The Judge also ordered the firm to conduct an equal pay audit which must be submitted to the Employment Tribunal by 30 June 2022.
The obligation on employers to consider their methods and processes of working to avoid discrimination is fundamental. This case demonstrates that the consequences in failing to do so can be incredibly damaging.
You can view further information on discrimination here.