£13.4m Switalski claim upheld; F&C to appeal

£13.4m Switalski claim upheld; F&C to appealA challenge against an ex legal chief’s multi-million pound discrimination claim has failed.

The challenge relates to Gillian Switalski’s claims of sexual discrimination, harassment and victimisation against F&C Asset Management, which was upheld by the employment tribunal in March (The Lawyer 11 March 2008)

Switalksi’s counsel, Suzanne McKie of Devereux Chambers, had successfully argued that F&C had overlooked her for management positions in favour of her colleagues.

McKie also argued that Switalski was unfairly scrutinised by her line manager when she took time off to look after her disabled son, comparing Switalski’s situation to that of a male employee who also had a child with special needs and was granted time off.

F&C sought to overturn the ruling at the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) on the basis that the tribunal had given a misdirection in the law in its original ruling.

However the EAT rejected all four points of F&C’s appeal, and said the employment tribunal had acted in accordance with the law.

This paves the way for Switalski’s remedy hearing, which will determine the extent of her compensation on 16th June.

It is understood that F&C could be forced to pay up to £13.4m to Switalski for earnings lost since the harassment began.

McKie was instructed by Withers partner Elaine Aarons.

McDermott Will & Emery partners David Dalgarno and Alison Weatherfield represented F&C, instructed Monica Carss-Frisk QC of Blackstone Chambers.

However F&C said it may yet appeal the EAT decision.

A statement released by the company read: “We continue to believe that the employment tribunal has misapplied the relevant legal principles and specifically that the findings that the claimant was treated less favourably based on her sex are incorrect.

“We will now consider seeking to have the case heard by the Court of Appeal.