The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled in favour of the City lawyer whose discrimination and bullying claim is worth £19m – the largest amount on record.
Gill Switalski quit her £140,000-a-year job as head of legal affairs last September following bullying about her working hours and because she felt she was treated less favourably than a male colleague with a special needs child. Switalski has one young son with cerebral palsy and another who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome.
In March, a tribunal ruled Switalski was the victim of sex discrimination and harassment by senior management at her employer, F&C Asset Management. F&C appealed the decision, but last Friday the EAT rejected all four of her employer’s grounds of appeal, which could result in the largest compensation award of its kind.
Helga Breen, an employment lawyer at law firm LG, said: “The case reminds employers that diversity awareness must begin at the very top of the organisation from the boardroom down. High achievers are and ever will be more ‘difficult to manage’ than their more placid colleagues,” she said.
“Instead of trying to force square pegs into round holes, rainmakers and business leaders should be judged by their achievements and not by their willingness, or indeed ability, to conform.”