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Camden Borough Council solicitor Amanda Kelly is alleging sex discrimination and victimisation by the council and her boss, chief executive Steve Bundred.
Kelly lodged a complaint with an industrial tribunal in November last year after she received two letters from Bundred in August and September querying her 'conduct and attitude'.
Her lawyer, Gillian Howard, said the formal proceedings were necessary as the council had no grievance procedure for Camden's chief officers.
Kelly, who as deputy chief executive is Bundred's number two, took stress-related sick leave for 10 weeks at the end of last year but is now back in her office at Camden. Howard said the two sides' lawyers agreed that one-to-one meetings with Bundred would not go ahead after Kelly returned to work.
An interlocutory hearing is due to be held at North London Industrial Tribunal on 3 February because Camden is claiming that many of Kelly's complaints are out of time. Simmons & Simmons partner Janet Gaymer, a leading employment solicitor acting both for Bundred and the council, said she would also be seeking to strike out part of the claim for other reasons.
Both sides are hiring big legal guns to fight their battle. Camden and Bundred's counsel is renowned employment silk Elizabeth Slade. Kelly's is leading specialist Paul Goulding of 2 Hare Court Chambers.