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Stephen Evans reports for BBC News
"She said she was forced to quit"
 real 28k

Kay Swinburne
"My professional and personal integrity was being questionned and that's unacceptable"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 18 January, 2000, 14:16 GMT
Bank in sex case payout

Kay Swinburne left work because of sexism

A major City of London bank is expected to pay damages for sexual discrimination against one of its highly paid woman employees.

An employment tribunal found Deutsche Bank sexually discriminated against Kay Swinburne, because it failed to prevent what it called a "hostile environment".

This environment forced Kay Swinburne, 32, of Wimbledon, South West London, to resign from her 300,000-a-year job at Deutsche Bank last year.

She claimed her manager Hugh Tidbury made sexist comments and helped nurture an atmosphere which drove her out.

Male staff organised escort girls to attend a Christmas party and one of the managers frequently referred to women colleagues as "hot totty","birds" or "chicks".

Deutsche Bank said it was disappointed by the result.

Extreme relief

The mother-of-one greeted the decision with "extreme relief".

"It completely vindicates me and I just hope I can now get on with my life and find a new job," said Mrs Swinburne.

Mrs Swinburne has not worked since resigning from the bank almost a year ago.

"The publicity surrounding my case had created a barrier to me working again and I was advised I would not find another job until the verdict of this case was known," she said.

"I have always been confident of winning but it has been a very long and difficult process," she added.

Mrs Swinburne dismissed suggestions that the comments were little more than office banter.

"My juniors were encouraged to laugh at me with a senior manager...The reality is that my professional integrity and my personal integrity were brought into question repeatedly by one manager. That cannot be accepted by anybody," she said.

Hefty cost for Deutsche Bank

The tribunal meets in March to set the amount of compensation.

Compensation has yet to be decided but, says the BBC's Stephen Evans, the amount is likely to be substantial, considering the size of her salary.

Some reports suggest it will be at least 400,000. If loss of future earnings are taken into account, this could reach 1m.

Apart from the financial cost, the ruling deals a blow to Deutsche Bank's image and reinforces the City's image as a bastion of male domination and sexism.

There have now been a string of cases against major financial institutions brought by women who say they have experienced discrimination in their workplaces.

Last week, Aisling Sykes was awarded 12,000 for having been sacked without warning from her job as a vice-president at US investment house JP Morgan in 1998.

Ms Sykes claimed she was sacked because she had asked for more flexible working hours in order to spend "a little time while they were awake" with her four children.

She claimed her boss compared having children to a lifestyle choice like playing squash.

In the Sykes case, the judge ruled that because she was highly paid, her employer had the right to make certain demands.

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See also:
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Working hours victory for single mother
03 Aug 99 |  UK
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11 Nov 99 |  Education
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