HSBC banker slams ‘ridiculous’ sexual orientation discrimination claim

A senior HSBC banker who sacked his colleague for gross personal misconduct said the fact that his co-worker, Peter Lewis, was gay was irrelevant.

Mark Bucknall, co-head of global investment banking at HSBC, told an employment tribunal in Stratford, east London: “At no time did I take the claimant’s sexuality into my decision-making.”

Bucknall was responding to Lewis’s £5m sexual orientation unfair dismissal claim after losing his £1m-a-year job as global head of equity trading at the bank.

Lewis denied allegations that he had performed a lewd act and looked at a colleague suggestively while they were at the bank’s gym in November 2004.

But Bucknall emphasised that Lewis had been a key employee at the bank.

“Given this impact, the claimant’s assertion that, because of his sexual orientation, HSBC was predisposed to believe the allegations of sexual harassment made against him, is ridiculous,” he said.

Lewis said his former colleague who had accused him of sexual harassment had called him a “nonce”.

The case continues.

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