Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2014 position: 81


Sex and the City: victimisation claims

A City employee has recently succeeded in a victimisation claim following dismissal by her employer, Commerzbank AG, for bringing a sex discrimination claim against her previous employer, Deutsche Bank (DB). The Employment Tribunal in this case, Bouabdillah v Commerzbank AG, was not impressed by Commerzbank’s argument that the dismissal was due to her not mentioning the claim against DB in her job application, rather than due to her having brought the discrimination claim against DB.

Under the Equality Act 2010 (the Equality Act), victimisation occurs where one person subjects another person to a detriment because she has brought or is believed to have brought proceedings under the Equality Act. This would include bringing a discrimination claim against her employer or against her previous employer.

Bouabdillah had brought a sex discrimination and equal pay claim against her then employer, DB, in May and December 2011. She resigned in November 2011 and in March 2012, Commerzbank hired her as a director as head of project engineering. When asked for her reasons for leaving DB, she said that she wanted to work in a smaller team, had lost trust in the management and had not been remunerated fairly. She did not mention, however, that she had brought a claim against DB. In an application form to assess her fitness and propriety for FSA purposes she was asked whether she had ever ‘been the subject of any civil proceedings… in the United Kingdom or elsewhere?’ She replied simply: ‘No.’…

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