HR professionals called as witnesses in HSBC sexual orientation discrimination case

Two HR professionals are expected to speak as witnesses in an employment tribunal into claims that HSBC discriminated against a gay member of staff when investigating allegations that he performed an indecent sex act.

Lawyers acting for Peter Lewis, former head of equity trading at the global bank, are to call two HSBC HR employees as witnesses, according to a report the Times.

Lewis, 46, reportedly told the tribunal in East London that the initial investigation into his alleged behaviour was conducted on the premise of “a belief that as a gay man, I was guilty as charged”.

Lewis sued HSBC for £5m last year, claiming unfair dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. He lost 12 of his 16 claims, but the Employment Appeal Tribunal ordered a fresh hearing into four of them.

The new case centres on whether the way HSBC investigated the accusation against Lewis was discriminatory.

The bank denies this and insists Lewis was treated the same way that any other member of staff would be in similar circumstances.

The hearing continues.

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