Linklaters lands HBOS in £11m sex bias action

Linklaters is defending banking giant HBOS against the largest-ever sex discrimination claim to hit the City.

Linklaters is defending banking giant HBOS against the largest-ever sex discrimination claim to hit the City.

Partner Catrina Smith is understood to be representing HBOS as it fights the £11m claim brought by the bank’s asset and liability management head Claire Bright.

Bright is claiming for unfair and wrongful dismissal, sex discrimination and victimisation, alleging that she was sacked from her £600,000-a-year job on Monday 16 January. She says that the dismissal came after three months of suspension from her job, during which the sex discrimination claim was filed.

The claim is believed to be the largest-ever sex discrimination case filed in a UK employment tribunal, beating the £7.5m claim brought by Stephanie Villalba against investment bank Merrill Lynch.

Villalba lost the bulk of her case in December 2004 but is appealing against the employment tribunal’s decision.

Bright is represented by employment specialist Gillian Howard, who has previously acted for a number of other women in similar City cases.

“It’s probably the most disturbing case I’ve ever seen, and I think it’s a great shame that HBOS is prepared to lose such brilliant talent. I have already been contacted by numerous individuals who are prepared to give evidence about what she’s like,” said Howard.

Linklaters declined to comment. HBOS did not return calls for comment.