Woman broker wins pounds 81,000 for victimisation

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The Independent Online
A City broker was awarded record compensation of pounds 81,000 yesterday after suffering eight years of sexist victimisation from her Japanese bosses.

Helen Bamber, 33, said she felt vindicated and claimed it was "a day of shame" for international investment bank Fuji. An industrial tribunal launched a scathing attack on the bank, the third largest in the world, for trying to intimidate her and ruin her reputation.

Miss Bamber, of Hampstead, north London, said she suffered continually on the grounds of her sex, being paid pounds 43,000 a year as a Euro-bond dealerwhile a male colleague received pounds 170,000. She won her claim for sexual discrimination last year but returned to the tribunal after failing to agree compensation and damages.

Tribunal chairman Ian Lambaccused the bank of showing "malevolence, spite, malice and arrogance intended to insult and cause pain to the applicant".

Miss Bamber told the hearing Fuji still bore a grudge against her and tried to blacken her name with her new employers, a British bank in the City, by sending a letter about her case to the chief executive.

Mr Lamb said: "The conduct of the respondent in this case is off the known scale of aggravated damages . . . this is an exceptional case which justifies an exceptional award." He criticised Fuji's deputy managing director, Michael Cole, who represented the bank and attacked Miss Bamber's integrity by accusing her of conspiring with her representative and boyfriend, Cameron McNeill, to extort money from the company. "The two aspects to the counter attack were wholly unfounded and we rejected the theory," Mr Lamb said.

Miss Bamber was given pounds 24,000 for future loss of earnings and a further pounds 20,000 for loss of earnings at Fuji up until April 1994, when she left.

She received pounds 12,000 for her difference in salary within the two years since she worked there, pounds 20,000 for aggravated damages and pounds 5,000 for injury to her feelings. With interest the final figure could top pounds 100,000.

Miss Bamber joined Fuji International Finance as a graduate trainee in 1986 and was consistently praised for her work and called "one of their key sales executives" after earning the company hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. But she claimed on one occasion director Takashi Yoshida told her to resign after she spurned his sexual advances during a business trip.

Mr Cole had earlier accused Mr McNeill of cooking up the sexual allegations to "add spice" to his girlfriend's claims.

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