A woman who won a sex discrimination and equal pay case against BNP Paribas has been awarded more than £2 million.
Stacey Macken took the French bank to tribunal in 2019, claiming she was paid significantly less than a male counterpart with the same job title.
She had joined the London office after taking voluntary redundancy from Deutsche Bank after eight years at a senior level, yet was hired as a junior on a £120,000 salary, while a male colleague in the same role earned £160,000.
Macken also experienced a number of sexist incidents, including drunk male colleagues leaving a witch’s hat on her desk and another male colleague rebutting her questions with “Not now, Stacey”.
After complaining about the pay differential in 2014, there was a further deterioration in her working relationship with her managers.
Following a grievance procedure, she took the bank to tribunal for direct sex discrimination, victimisation and unequal pay – claims she won in September 2019.
Macken argued that the tribunal process left her without employment opportunities.
In a witness statement, she said: “They have taken away my career and destroyed my life because I asked to be paid the same as a man.
“I argue that the unreasonable, calculated and vexatious behaviour of the respondent has resulted in an unnecessary employment tribunal claim and proceedings.
“It is now known in the industry and is publicly available information that I brought an equal pay claim and sex discrimination claim against my employer. I have also had my professional reputation unfairly tarnished by being categorised as a poor performer.
“It is naive to think this will not severely hamper my future career. I had always hoped to take my career as far as possible and to maximise my earning potential. It is inevitable that I will suffer stigma losses.”
The tribunal panel found that Macken’s managers behaved “spitefully and vindictively” because she raised concerns about her pay and that their motive was discriminatory.
It also found, as a result of new evidence made available at the remedy hearing, that a male comparator in the equal pay claim was awarded a “special allowance” rather than a pay increase because of the claimant’s complaints about equal pay. “This was also undertaken with a discriminatory motive,” said the judgment.
Macken was awarded £402,000 for unqual equal pay; £213,000 for personal injury; £860,000 for future earnings; and £123,000 in additional compensation. This total was subjected to a 20% Acas uplift of £317,000, and interest of £163,000, leading to total of £2.08 million.
The judge also ordered BNP Paribas to carry out an equal pay audit to be submitted to the employment tribunal by 30 June 2022.
A BNP Paribas spokesman said: “We at BNP Paribas understand that we fell short in our duty to Ms Macken. We are actively considering the tribunal’s judgment to see what we can learn. Our aim is to ensure that all of our people are treated with the respect they deserve at all times.
“We are pleased that the tribunal recognised the seriousness with which we have taken its findings and the major steps forward we have made to try to ensure that nothing like this happens again.”