Merrill Lynch faces appeal over sexual discrimination ruling

Stephanie Villalba, the banker who lost her £7m claim for sexual discrimination against her employer Merrill Lynch is to appeal against the tribunal’s decision.

The 42-year-old former head of Merrill’s private client business in Europe won her claim of unfair dismissal and victimisation, resulting from her sacking in August 2003, but failed in her claims that the bank was ‘institutionally sexist’.

Her partial victory capped her compensation at about £55,000, a tiny fraction of what she had asked for.

The tribunal decided that Villalba had been unfairly dismissed because, having been removed from a senior post, she was entitled to wait to see if a suitable alternative position could be found in the organisation.

The tribunal also upheld Villalba’s claim of victimisation on certain specific issues, including bullying e-mails in connection with a contract, but said it found no evidence of ‘laddish culture’ at the bank.


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