Blackstone wins landmark sex case for Nomura

Blackstone Chambers scored a landmark victory today for Nomura as the Court of Appeal rejected all grounds of appeal in a long-running six-figure sex discrimination case against the bank.

The judgment in the case of Andrea Madarassy v Nomura International was handed down by Lord Justices Mummery, Laws and Maurice Kay and upheld the two-stage test in Igen v Wong [2005] where the burden of proof in claims of discrimination first lies with the employee, before

Madarassy, 42, launched the case against her former bosses, international financial services company Nomura, after she was made redundant in 2001 – weeks after returning from four months’ maternity leave.

The married mother-of-three originally raised 33 separate allegations including that Nomura director Michael Boardman “barked” at her, “threatened” her and “acted beyond the range of decency”.

In the judgment, Mummery LJ wrote: “The majority of Ms Madarassy’s allegations of sex and pregnancy discrimination failed at the first stage. It is clear however that in some instances the tribunal also considered the second stage at which it accepted as adequate Nomura’s explanation for its treatment of Ms Madarassy.”

“There is no error of law in rejecting a claim of discrimination if the complainant has no evidence of less favourable treatment than a comparator of a different sex,” Mummery LJ continued.

Paul Goulding QC and Claire Weir of Blackstone Chambers were instructed by Victoria Parry, a partner at Osborne Clarke for Nomura. Madarassy was represented by Robin Allen QC at Cloisters, instructed by the Equal Opportunities Commission.