A former Barclays Plc private banker who was fired for allegedly harassing female colleagues is suing for wrongful dismissal, claiming the women made up the accusations to drive him out.
(Bloomberg) — A former Barclays Plc private banker who was fired for allegedly harassing female colleagues is suing for wrongful dismissal, claiming the women made up the accusations to drive him out.
Robert Record, an ex-director at Barclays’ wealth management division, is seeking hundreds of thousands of pounds for being unfairly dismissed and says he suffered discrimination for being a senior male. He was fired in September 2020 after four women in the unit made multiple allegations that he subjected them to inappropriate touching and staring, racially loaded nicknames and bullying, all of which he denies.
Record “believes he was being targeted by four female individuals in the wealth management team who were colluding and manufacturing allegations to have him removed from the team because he was a senior male,” the banker’s lawyers said in filings for a London employment tribunal hearing. He alleged the disciplinary process was a “sham” and managers made assumptions about his actions.
The case is the latest fallout of the male-dominated industry’s reckoning with its workplace culture after the #MeToo movement. Banks and financial firms are facing increasing number of employment cases over sexual and racial discrimination but Record’s suit is unusual in accusing the bank for believing women who spoke up.
Barclays is contesting the suit and has denied Record’s allegations including any conspiracy by the four women. Due process was followed before his dismissal, a lawyer for Barclays said in the filings. A spokeswoman for Barclays declined to comment on the case.
A senior executive, who then headed the disciplinary process at Barclays, said on Thursday the bank was acting on concerns over the work culture in its wealth management division.
Allegations against Record first surfaced in 2019 and managers found at least some accusations credible enough to act. Record is alleged to have touched and stared at women inappropriately at work-related social events. One one occasion, the bank received complaints that he touched one of the women in a sexual manner at a London Bridge bar leaving her feeling “vulnerable and violated,” Barclays said.
The disciplinary procedure and the appeals process was fair and managers found his behavior was lewd, improper and constituted harassment, Barclays’ lawyers said. The name calling was “inappropriate, racially discriminatory and created an offensive environment,” they said.
An email to Record’s lawyers wasn’t answered immediately.
A verdict in the case is likely to take weeks.
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