A&O wins round two of gay banker case

Allen & Overy (A&O) has won the second round of client HSBC’s employment dispute with a former banker who claims he was dismissed from the bank because he is gay.

Peter Lewis brought his claim against HSBC earlier this year, the first sexual orientation discrimination case to be heard by an employment tribunal.

In May the Stratford tribunal found that Lewis had not been dismissed because he was gay, but did find HSBC guilty of four counts of discrimination.

Both sides appealed to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), which handed down its decision this morning (Tuesday 19 December). The EAT upheld HSBC’s appeal over the four counts of discrimination on technical grounds and referred those points back to the employment tribunal.

But Lewis’s cross-appeal, in respect of the other 12 counts of less favourable treatment, failed.

HSBC said in a statement: “HSBC has always maintained that Mr Lewis was dismissed for gross misconduct following a complaint of sexual harassment made against him by another member of staff – and for no other reason. HSBC is pleased Mr Lewis’s claim has been rejected once again.”

Lewis’s solicitor Alison Downie said: “We look forward to the next hearing where the actions of HSBC which we say were unlawful discrimination will be examined again.”

A&O partner Mark Mansell acted for HSBC, instructing Essex Court Chambers’ Andrew Hochhauser QC and Matrix Chambers’ Thomas Linden QC.

Downie instructed Cloisters Chambers’ Chris Quinn for Lewis.