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Swiss Re underwriter wins sex discrimination claim after boss leered at her

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Ms H Sommer v Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Services Ltd a former underwriter at Swiss Re has won an employment tribunal against the world’s biggest reinsurance company, after a senior executive at the firm told her: “If I had breast like yours, I would be demanding too.”

Julia Sommer, a political risk underwriter at the Swiss insurer, is now set to receive a pay out, after a London tribunal heard her boss at the firm said, “I bet you like to be on top in bed,” during an office drinks event with colleagues.

Sommer claimed Robert Llewelyn, head of the global underwriting department, had quipped during the work event that Sommer was interested in pursuing an “open relationship,” after she had joked about persuading her boyfriend to marry her.

The tribunal heard that Llewelyn had also criticised the junior underwriter for having a “dominant” personality, and that the exec had once ordered her to “shut up” during a meeting.

After the junior underwriter went on maternity leave, Llewelyn, who denies the claims, allegedly plotted to force her out of the company, by making her redundant in April 2021.

The tribunal ruled that Sommer was subject to sex and maternity-related discrimination, sexual harassment, and unfair dismissal.

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