A high-flying female City worker thought to be seeking up to £11m in damages from a leading bank for sexual discrimination and unfair dismissal took her claims to a private hearing yesterday.
Claire Bright, 48, who earned more than £600,000 a year as head of asset and liability in HBOS’s treasury department, said her boss, Cliff Pattenden, victimised and demeaned her because he “could not manage a successful woman”.
Her case to the tribunal states: “From the start of her employment, she was disrespected, demeaned, overruled, micro-managed and humiliated by Mr Pattenden.”
It added: “The claimant has become increasingly distressed, very tearful, unable to sleep, lost her appetite, had pins and needles in her arms and fingers, heart palpitations, became fearful for her future and fearful to return to work to face [Mr Pattenden], and began to have suicidal ideation.”
His style of management directed at her alone was “boorish and undermining”. He displayed an “egotistical and mercurial character” and he gave her little encouragement – unlike his treatment of male colleagues, it was claimed.
The bank disputes her version of events, and says Bright’s allegations are “unfounded”.
After making an internal complaint about Pattenden, Bright was suspended for three months in October last year. When she tried to return to work in January, she was sacked.
The hearing continues today. If the case reaches a full tribunal hearing, it is not likely to take place until the autumn and could last several weeks.