A City banker who claims he was sacked by HSBC for being openly gay is suing for £5m at a landmark employment tribunal this week.
Peter Lewis, the former global head of equity trading at the bank, was dismissed from his £1m-a-year job in February 2005 for “gross personal misconduct.”
HSBC launched an investigation after a colleague of Lewis’s complained that he had looked at him in a lascivious way while they were at the bank’s gym in November 2004. The company decided that the disputed glance constituted sexual harassment
In one of the first cases under the new sex discrimination legislation – introduced in 2004 to protect gays and lesbians – Lewis is expected to argue that he is the victim of homophobic prejudice.
Alison Downie, Lewis’s lawyer, said: “My client is keen to get his case before the tribunal so his claim that he was dismissed because he was gay can be fully heard and independently adjudicated. Today he is even more confident of success.”
HSBC said it would “vigorously defend” itself against the claims.
The tribunal in Stratford, East London, is expected to last 10 days.