Analyst in City sex-bias case was 'insensitive and difficult'

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The Independent Online

A leading City analyst who claimed the stockbroking firm she worked for paid her less than male colleagues because she was female was "uncooperative and difficult", an employment tribunal was toldyesterday.

A leading City analyst who claimed the stockbroking firm she worked for paid her less than male colleagues because she was female was "uncooperative and difficult", an employment tribunal was toldyesterday.

Julie Bower, 35, was a senior equities analyst at Schroder Securities Ltd (SSL), earning £120,000 a year until she resigned in October last year. The Oxford graduate, from Pimlico, central London, has made a claim for equal pay and alleges sex discrimination, constructive dismissal and breach of contract against SSL, which denies the claim.

Richard Jeans, representing SSL, told the employment tribunal panel in Stratford, east London, that e-mails written by other members of staff said Mrs Bower had demonstrated a bad attitude. He produced an e-mail which said: "She was uniquely insensitive to the objectives of the sales force, incapable of compromise or of accepting that other people's point of view could be valid."

Mr Jeans asked Mrs Bower if she found it difficult to accept criticism of herself from other people, but she denied that she was unco-operative or difficult to work with.

On Tuesday the tribunal was told that Mrs Bower claimed one man doing the same job as her got a bonus of £425,000 for 1997 and a loan of £700,000. But her own bonus was cut from £125,000 to £25,000 after an assessment of her performance over 1998.

In November 1997 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Mr Jeans asked Mrs Bower why her illness was not mentioned in her appraisal form. "As I explained to Mr Crawshaw [her boss] later it was not like having a common cold. I wanted to have a proper discussion about it but nobody would talk to me about it," she said.

Mrs Bower said she tried to speak to other senior managers about her illness, and how it might have affected her work, but they did not want to talk about it.

The tribunal heard on Tuesday that a survey had ranked Mrs Bower fifth among drinks equity analysts in Europe.

Mr Jeans said she had been seeking a total remuneration package of £283,000 for 2001. If the company had agreed Mrs Bower would not have made further complaints, he said.

The hearing continues today.