Broker who won gender discrimination tribunal against BNP Paribas now claiming £3.3m in reputation damage

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·5 min read
BNP Paribas logo is seen on the office building in Krakow, Poland on December 1, 2020. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
BNP Paribas logo is seen on the office building in Krakow, Poland on December 1, 2020. (Getty Images)

A London broker who won a gender discrimination case against French bank BNP Paribas is now claiming £3.3 million from the bank due to reputation damage.

Stacey Macken won an employment tribunal in 2019 after claiming that she suffered years of bullying, abuse and corporate gaslighting during her time at BNP Paribas.

She also sued the French bank for £4 million, alleging she was paid less than male peers and subjected to sexist behaviour that included drunken male colleagues leaving a witch's hat on her desk.

Macken, who stayed on at the bank after the tribunal, also alleged that she was belittled and faced performance reviews that were deliberately designed to present a false picture of her contributions.

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The tribunal ruled that it had not been persuaded that gender played no part in how bonuses had been set and that Macken had also been the subject of direct sex discrimination and victimisation.

It dismissed a separate allegation of harassment.

Now the prime finance specialist is now seeking an additional £3,363,594 in stigma losses, saying the employment tribunal has tarnished her reputation.

In a witness statement, at the remedy hearing held last week in central London, she said she has lost friendships and dream career prospects along the way.

She added she now suffers from anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD.

Macken, who was previously a vice president at Deutsche Bank, said: "They have taken away my career and destroyed my life because I asked to be paid the same as a man."

She added: "I argue that the unreasonable, calculated and vexatious behaviour of the respondent has resulted in an unnecessary employment tribunal claim and proceedings.

"It is now known in the industry and is publicly available information that I brought an equal pay claim and sex discrimination claim against my employer.

"I have also had my professional reputation unfairly tarnished by being categorised as a poor performer.”

Macken said it is “inevitable” that she will now suffer stigma losses.

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Since she joined BNP Paribas in 2013, Macken faced bullying behaviour like being belittled by her boss who told her "not now Stacey" so often that her colleagues joined in, the tribunal heard.

She would arrive at the London branch faint, dizzy and shaking while her employer failed to protect her, it was said.

The remedy hearing was told that she felt "greatly upset" by the bank's attempts to cover up the discrimination and its "vicious campaign" to push her out.

Despite winning her case in 2019, Macken claims the bank has still failed to equalise her salary which increased to £160,000 - matching her male counterpart's salary eight years ago.

Meanwhile, her counterparts enjoy a £177,000 salary including a pay rise in what she claims are illegal special allowances more than three times her £5,000 gender equality pay boost, the hearing was told.

Macken is claiming for unpaid equal salary, aggravated damages and injury to feelings, gross pension, interest, and more than £3.3 million in stigma losses.

The tribunal heard Macken was hired in 2013 on a £120k salary compared to a male new starter's £160k salary and double bonus after six months.

From 2014, she was victimised after she first raised discrimination complaints to her line manager, it was said.

In her statement, she said: "I felt I was being bullied while the male managers who had discriminated against me were not challenged and seemed to have been protected.

"People who were supposed to be helping me make amends were bullying me too."

Since winning in 2019, Macken says the bank has shown no remorse but instead is "lying and deliberately trying to hide material evidence."

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In addition to remedies, Macken asked the tribunal for an equal pay audit at the bank, equality and diversity training for all managers and a review of all its HR policies.

She said: "I have lost the person I used to be. My fight for equal pay has cost me my career, my mental wellbeing and over £160,000 in legal costs. I am frustrated, angry and exhausted in the way I have been treated."

She added: "I would like to hope that something positive could come out of this awful situation.

"I would like to be productively involved somehow to help others going through similar situations by providing psychological support as I know how difficult and lonely this experience can be."

The hearing reserved its judgement to another date.

A spokesperson for BNP Paribas said: "BNP Paribas recognises that it fell short in its duties to Ms Macken. 

"It is determined to use this opportunity to strengthen its processes to prevent a similar situation arising again and has therefore engaged in a comprehensive remediation programme to address the shortcomings identified by the Tribunal in its original judgment.

"BNP Paribas has already ensured that Ms Macken has received full backpayment for any fixed pay, bonus pay and pension contributions which the Tribunal determined she was entitled to by reference to her male comparator."

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