Woman's victory against 'laddish' bank bosses

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A woman banker who attacked the "laddish culture" of her male bosses after a failed promotion attempt, accepted pounds 4,250 compensation yesterday. Caroline MacDonald, 33, won a sex discrimination case against Barclays Bank after a less qualified man was promoted over her.

A tribunal at Exeter in Devon accepted that there was "what has been described as a 'laddish' culture within the bank which was under the control of the Plymouth area manager Mr Chris Jarman - made notable by the weekly visits to the pub at lunchtime where he would buy a round of drinks and where the people attending were mainly men".

The panel said these sessions included the "rather casual discussions of the comparative merits of candidates who took the jobs generally".

The tribunal ruled that the area manager never accepted Mrs MacDonald's clear advantage on paper. She had interviewed well on previous occasions, which cast doubt on the bank's claim that she had interviewed badly on this occasion. It also ruled that the interviews were not held in accordance with normal procedures and it was not a true attempt to decide between Mrs MacDonald and her male rival.

Tribunal members were concerned with the speed of the decision, which was made and delivered within minutes of the final interview back in July 1995.

Mrs MacDonald, who still works for Barclays in one of its Plymouth branches, but as a sales adviser, was a business banker and had been applying for the position as principal business banker.

The parties were due to return to the tribunal today to remedy the claim. But they settled a day early and Mrs MacDonald, from Ivybridge, Devon, agreed to the compensation for hurt feelings, backpay and a salary rise to pounds 16,477. She will be notified over the next 12 months of available jobs at the next grade.

A Barclays spokeswoman said the bank was committed to equal opportunities and would "take note of the comments that were made" by the tribunal.

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