Bank worker tells of 'you stink' abuse

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The Independent Online

Bullying in the "department from hell" drove a City bank worker to a nervous breakdown, she told the High Court yesterday.

Helen Green, 36, is suing Deutsche Bank Group Services over harassment she says she suffered from colleagues and the alleged lack of support from superiors.

She told Mr Justice Owen in London that she had worked in all kinds of environments but had never experienced anything like the hostility she encountered when she joined the firm's secretariat department in October 1997.

She believed she was targeted for "mobbing" by four women: Valerie Alexander, manager of the insurance division; her personal assistant, Fiona Gregg; Daniella Dolbear, a telephone directory administrator, and Jenny Dixon, PA to the department head, Richard Elliston.

She said that from day one she was "stonewalled" but then the behaviour worsened. Nine weeks after she started, she was working alone when the women trooped in and laughed when Ms Dolbear asked the others: "What's that stink over there?" and put her hand over her nose.

"Daniella was shouting and saying you stink and that sort of loud behaviour and laughing in my face and blowing raspberries.

"There was one time when I was walking from my desk over to the stationery cupboard and she was blowing raspberries with every step I made. On its own, it's quite infantile, but with all this other behaviour going on at the time, it wasn't funny. Fiona was blanking me. If I asked her a question about anything to do with office procedures because I was new, she would just sit there and not even give me an answer."

Ms Green said she had to lock work in her drawer at night so it did not go missing. "Jenny Dixon was interfering with documents and post and information that was left on my desk by managers and other people was going missing."

Deutsche Bank denies Ms Green was bullied or harassed or subjected to improper or unreasonable conduct. The case continues.