Discrimination Case Wins Millions

6 May 2015

Lokhova v Sberbank

An employee who specialised in equity sales has recently been awarded a staggering £3.2 million after successfully bringing claims for sexual harassment, gender-related victimisation and constructive unfair dismissal. Unlike most employment matters, there is no upper limit on compensation in cases of discrimination. The objective of any such financial award is to put the employee into the position he or she would have been in had the wrongdoing not taken place.

Ms Lokhova, who had previously worked for Sberbank for two years (from 2008 to 2010), returned to the bank in 2011. During this second period of employment, she was subject to a wide range of grossly disparaging behaviour. This included being nicknamed “Crazy Miss Cokehead” and “Miss Dodgy Septum”, described by her manager as having “unfortunate natural brain chemistry” and being subject to claims that she was “only hired” by virtue of her gender. Ms Lokhova made complaints about her treatment but was repeatedly ignored. Having been forced to go off sick in January 2012, she resigned in April 2012 and brought a claim in the tribunal for compensation of £19 million. This inordinately high figure was due to the her likely future loss of earnings, as she was only 32 and had an average annual salary of £750,000.

Although she wasn’t awarded the full amount, the tribunal took into account the difficulty she would encounter with regards to working in the banking industry again and awarded her £3.2 million, of which £3.14 million was for her future loss of earnings. The tribunal was scathing about the behaviour of the employer, and their perceived lack of action. The fact that management were involved in the behaviour was also highlighted.

Ensuring you have a zero tolerance policy (and that you stick to it!) is the most effective way of adequately protecting yourself against a potential claim of this nature. Alpha can help structure your policies to give your business the protection you require.

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