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£2M tribunal award ‘sobering reminder’ for employers

The Tribunal upheld the employee’s claims of direct sex discrimination, victimisation and equal pay after a witch’s hat was left on her desk and she was subjected to demeaning behaviour by male colleagues

An Employment Tribunal has awarded over £2million in compensation to a female employee who worked for the London branch of the French bank BNP Paribas. The compensation figure in this case, whilst not the biggest, is one of the largest sums ever awarded by the Employment Tribunal.

The Tribunal upheld the employee’s claims of direct sex discrimination, victimisation and equal pay after a witch’s hat was left on her desk and she was subjected to demeaning behaviour by male colleagues, which included one male colleague repeatedly saying “not now, Stacey” every time she asked a question.

It emerged that she was paid significantly less than a male counterpart and there was a considerable disparity in the bonuses she received compared to a male peer.

Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR, says: “This case is a sobering reminder for employers of the substantial sums that can be awarded by the Employment Tribunal in discrimination claims. Although there are guidelines the tribunal will follow when assessing compensation, there is no limit on the maximum sum that can be awarded.

It also highlights to employers the importance of addressing any gender pay gap in the organisation and ensuring allegations of sex discrimination are taken seriously and fully investigated.”

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