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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
Bullied City worker wins 800,000
Helen Green
Miss Green is now training for an academic career

A City worker employed in a "department from hell" has won about 800,000 damages for bullying.

Helen Green, 36, sued Deutsche Bank Group Services (UK) Ltd claiming harassment by colleagues and a lack of support from bosses.

She said colleagues stonewalled her, laughed in her face, blew raspberries and told her: "You stink". But the firm denied any bullying or harassment.

After the ruling, she said bullying was a widespread hidden menace in the City.

Mr Justice Owen, at the High Court, said Miss Green had been subjected to a "relentless campaign of mean and spiteful behaviour designed to cause her distress".

'Crying at desk'

She said she had suffered psychiatric injury after working in the bank's secretariat division from 1997 - when she joined as a company secretary assistant - until 2001.

The court heard Miss Green, of Tower Hamlets, east London, was verbally abused, ignored and denigrated to the point where she would sit at her desk silently crying.

She was made to feel uncomfortable by "crude and lewd comments" and her colleagues would remove her name from circulation lists, hide her post and remove papers from her desk.

The court heard Miss Green believed she was targeted by four women - Valerie Alexander, manager of the insurance division; her PA Fiona Gregg; telephone directory administrator Daniella Dolbear; and Jenny Dixon, a PA.

All City businesses will have to do more than pay lip-service to this hidden menace
Helen Green

She denied doing anything to justify their behaviour and said she never talked down to them.

Miss Green was promoted twice before she received stress counselling in March 2000, paid for by the company, and assertiveness training.

In September 2000, she had a nervous breakdown and was in hospital on suicide watch.

Five months later, Miss Green returned to work but relapsed. Her job was kept open until September 2003 when her employment was terminated.

Medical experts on both sides agreed she developed a depressive disorder but could not agree on the cause.

Loss of earnings

Deutsche Bank denied breach of statutory duty or bullying, instead relying on Miss Green's vulnerability to mental illness.

The bank's counsel, Geoffrey Brown, said evidence given on Ms Green's behalf appeared to be describing the "department from hell".

The judge awarded her 35,000 for pain and suffering, 25,000 for her disadvantage in the labour market, 128,000 for lost earnings and 640,000 for future loss of earnings including a pension.

After the ruling, Miss Green, now training for an academic career, said: "My case was not an isolated one. At the trial the court heard evidence about other victims.

"Not only does Deutsche Bank have to put its house in order, but all City businesses will have to do more than pay lip-service to this hidden menace."

A spokeswoman for the bank said: "Deutsche Bank respects the judgment of the court. No decision about whether to appeal has been made at this stage."

Are you affected by bullying in the workplace? Have you been a bully? What action should be taken to deal with the problem?

Your comments:

My wife has also had to put up with this sort of bullying from her work colleagues (again all women), but is in the unfortunate position that she works in a school instead of a bank. I suspect she won't be receiving 800k any time soon...
Gary, Manchester, England

I have worked in local government for 15 years and have been subjected to bullying by three female managers during that time. It's like a version of playground politics but you can't believe it's happening and you even doubt your own sanity. Women do seem to be worse than men and will defend their positions of power against anyone they perceive to be a threat.
Amie, United Kingdom

I went through something very similar at a legal firm in Leeds, while temping during the summer break from university. The three secretaries in that department utterly ignored me from day one, leaving me piled up with work. If I addressed a question to one of them, they looked at each other, then around the room as though they didn't know who was speaking. No-one offered me any help or assistance at any time. I needed money to pay my student loans, so I had no choice but to stay and the agency made it clear that they would not move me to another company for something so "minor" - but it was a horrible atmosphere that I worked in.
Jane, San Antonio, Texas (ex-pat)

I trained as an NHS nurse and both in the qualified posts and student placements I was bullied. It is an inherent problem within the NHS and I encountered it in THREE separate jobs and two clinical placements.

Goodonya Miss Green. For too long companies/corporations have not been held accountable and the victimised made to feel it was their fault, and of course the companies never admit any wrong doing even though they are obviously complicit.

Sexual harassment is bad enough but bullying at the hands of female co-workers can be/is particularly vicious if not indeed worse. A number of years ago, I took a job at a company and the department I worked in was all female and I was ignored and left off the lists of important memos. Six weeks later, I was dismissed and it was obvious why.
LeAnn, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Interesting that it was four women colleagues who drove her to depression.

Watching the female bitchiness in Big Brother this year, it looks as though we've finally found equality.. pity it's in the wrong area.
Stefani Creane, Dublin

Hear Helen Green's reaction after the hearing

Bully victim was 'next in line'
01 Aug 06 |  London
City worker's damages award cut
14 Oct 04 |  London
Bullying rife say City workers
23 Oct 03 |  London
City workers 'reduced to tears'
23 Oct 03 |  Business

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