`Hot totty' taunts led banker to quit her pounds 300,000 job

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The Independent Online
A HIGH-FLYING City banker was forced out of her pounds 300,000-a-year job by a manager who continually referred to women as "hot totty" and a "bit of skirt", a labour tribunal was told yesterday.

Kay Swinburne, 32, alleged that she was the victim of sexual innuendoes made by hermanager at Deutsche Bank, and also claimed that she was unfairly denied promotion.

In her witness statement, she said that Hugh Tidbury, the manager, regularly made comments referring to a particular woman as a "bird", saying that she was "a bit of all right".

Ms Swinburne, who has a doctorate and an MBA, said: "I became increasingly upset by Hugh Tidbury's sexist comments ... As time went on they increasingly became directed personally at me."

The tribunal in central London was told Ms Swinburne, of Wimbledon, south-west London, left her job in the investment banking division last April. Andrew Walker, Deutsche's human resources director, told the tribunal the bank had tried to interview Ms Swinburne about her allegations for a full investigation, but she was not forthcoming.

Jeremy Mullen QC, representing the bank, told the hearing: "It is accepted that Mr Tidbury did make some inappropriate and sexist comments. An offer had been made to compensate Ms Swinburne but no response had been forthcoming." However, he said her lack of promotion was because she had not generated revenue for the bank, rather than because of sexual bias.

John Hand QC, representing Ms Swinburne, said Mr Tidbury had an "irrational and unlawful" prejudice against his client. "The kind of man Mr Tidbury is, is best illustrated by the fact he would say things in order to get a rise out of her. She reacted with righteous indignation and he enjoyed that," he said.

Mr Tidbury had previously been given a formal verbal warning after using inappropriate language when describing women, the tribunal was told. Judgment was reserved.