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Senior executive ordered to pay costs of £225,000 after losing discrimination claim

Gripping case of Ms A P versus Greycoat Real Estate LLP, where a senior executive’s discrimination claims, potentially worth £5 million, were deemed futile by the London Central tribunal. Despite alleging mistreatment and career sidelining, the tribunal found no evidence of discrimination, highlighting the company’s attempts to accommodate her requests. Unravel the intricacies of workplace disputes and the consequences of pursuing claims without merit, shedding light on the complexities of career dynamics in the modern era.

In the case of Ms A P v Greycoat Real Estate LLP the tribunal at London Central has rendered a verdict deeming a senior executive’s claims for discrimination, potentially totalling £5 million, as having “no reasonable prospect of success.” They asserted that it was “unreasonable” for her to have pursued them.

Ms AP, who believed she had been unfairly treated at Greycoat Real Estate LLP, alleged that she had been sidelined in her career after refusing to commit to returning to work following maternity leave, being made a “passive member” of the partnership.

However, the tribunal found no evidence supporting her claims of sex and pregnancy discrimination, stating that the respondent had attempted to accommodate her desire to work part-time.

Furthermore, the tribunal ruled that the respondent could seek reimbursement of costs up to £225,000 in a subsequent hearing.

Ms AP became a partner at Greycoat Real Estate LLP in April 2018. In March 2020, she informed the CEO of her pregnancy. A board meeting in September discussed Ms AP’s future at the company. Following her maternity leave, discussions about her return to work ensued, with Ms AP expressing a desire for flexibility and part-time work. Despite offers made by the company, Ms AP remained dissatisfied. Ultimately, she was designated a “passive member” of the partnership in a new LLP agreement.

Employment Judge Hodgson said: “It was the claimant’s case, at all material times, that it was the respondent’s actions which caused the effective removal of her partnership rights and that constituted her loss of career which led to the alleged financial loss.”

Her total claim could have potentially reached £5m, with Hodgson adding: “It is clear that a substantial sum was sought as a result of the claimant being ‘divested’ of her career.”

They continued: “Any limitation of the claimant’s right to receive profits occurred because she did not agree to return to work. That was her choice.

“The claimant was not removed from the partnership. Her rights were paused because an impasse had been reached, but she remained part of the partnership, and ultimately there was a potential to proceed.

“The respondent’s action was not inappropriate or unexplained. It simply reflected the reality of the position as caused by the claimant.”

They went on to say that the partnership took a “generous approach” in pausing the claimant’s position, and “took appropriate action to preserve the legal position because of the claimant’s intransigence and unwillingness to engage”.

Ultimately, the tribunal concluded: “The claim which was summarised as divesting the claimant of her career was hopeless, and the claimant ought to have known that at all material times.

“The claim had no reasonable prospect of success, and it was unreasonable conduct to bring it.”

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