A banker formerly employed by Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank has succeeded in her Employment Tribunal claim against the latter bank.
Ms Bouabdillah left Deutsche Bank in early 2011 after a legal dispute over perceived sex discrimination at Deutsche Bank. She alleged that her male colleagues had been paid bonuses up to three times as much as hers and that male employees had been unjustly promoted over female employees. This prompted Ms Bouabdillah leaving her employment with the bank and making an Employment Tribunal claim for sex discrimination and unfair dismissal. It was initially reported that Ms Bouabdillah was claiming £1 million in damages against Deutsche Bank and the case settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.
After leaving Deutsche Bank, Ms Bouabdillah joined Commerzbank in May 2011. However, she was dismissed from her employment with the bank after just one month’s employment following details of her Employment Tribunal claim against Deutsche Bank being released into the public domain. Commerzbank believed that a serious breach of trust and confidence had occurred and they therefore terminated Ms Bouabdillah’s employment. She subsequently instructed her employment law solicitors to submit claims for sex discrimination, unfair dismissal and victimization against Commerzbank. Ms Bouabdillah claimed that she had been victimized by the bank because of her Employment Tribunal claim against Deutsche Bank and that she had been dismissed as a result. Commerzbank, in return, claimed that she had failed to disclose important information and that this had breach the implied term of mutual trust and confidence between the parties.
The case went before the Employment Tribunal earlier this year. The Tribunal heard evidence from a number of parties, including the Claimant. The Claimant asserted that she had not been asked specific questions about ongoing litigation that she was conducting and that the questions from Commerzbank focused upon whether there was any ongoing litigation against her. She therefore did not disclose that she was currently pursuing proceedings against Deutsche Bank for sex discrimination. Mr Guy Middleton, the Claimant’s line manager at Commerzbank, stated that he felt that there had been a serious breach of trust and confidence when the information relating to Ms Bouabdillah’s sex discrimination claim was disclosed and that the bank had no option but to terminate her contract of employment.
The Employment Tribunal upheld Ms Bouabdillah’s claim for victimization but dismissed her claim for sex discrimination. It found that the actions of Commerzbank had been “offensive and unfair” and that Ms Bouabdillah had not given evasive answers when she was asked questions and that there was “no evidence that the claimant at any stage neglected her duties at the bank and there is no suggestion that she acted unprofessionally in any of her dealings, albeit she had not been at the bank very long”.
The case is now due to go to a remedies hearing now liability has been dealt with. Ms Bouabdillah is apparently claiming £13 million in loss of earnings. The Employment Tribunal case continues.
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