A female compliance officer has won a sex and maternity discrimination claim a second time after it was sent back to tribunal by the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Jagruti Rajput was a senior compliance officer at German investment bank Commerzbank, and initially took her claim to tribunal in 2018. She claimed that substantial elements of her job had been transferred to another employee after she returned from maternity leave.
The initial tribunal centred around the fact her manager had treated a male colleague as a senior member of the team, creating a “degrading, humiliating or offensive environment” for the claimant. She felt she had been denied a fair opportunity to be promoted into a senior role, but her manager claimed she had “an unhealthy obsession with work”.
Rajput said she had felt sidelined when she had been left out of a team meeting while she was on maternity leave and again when she returned from leave in September 2016.
When she returned, her manager asked “What have you been up to? Maybe a sibling?”, and she claimed she had not been considered fairly for a senior compliance role in 2015 before she announced she was pregnant.
The tribunal also heard that an outside candidate had been recruited into a senior role because of tensions in Rajput’s team – a decision the court concluded was an example of “stereotypical characterisation” of women as being divisive.
The bank appealed the initial tribunal decision in 2019 and the EAT upheld the appeal on sex discrimination and harassment, arguing that the bank should have been given the opportunity to respond to the suggestion that it had acted on stereotypical assumptions.
The case was then returned to the employment tribunal, where the claimant’s original claims have now been upheld.
Commerzbank told Bloomberg: “We are, of course, disappointed with the decision of the employment tribunal but we as an employer remain committed to equal opportunities in our workplace. We will consider appropriate next steps.”