Female banker wins £300,000 payout from Commerzbank
A female bank compliance officer has been awarded £300,684 in compensation after a long court battle with her former employer Commerzbank.
Jagruti Rajput, who worked as a senior manager in the department in London, won her case at a UK employment tribunal against the German bank last year. It found in her favour on six of her complaints — including one of maternity discrimination after “substantial parts” of her role were given to a colleague when she was on maternity leave.
The tribunal awarded Rajput £201,650 for loss of salary, bonus and pension payments and £25,000 for injury to feelings. She was also awarded interest payments of £60,071 for her financial losses and of £13,962 for injury to feelings, making a total of £300,684, according to a ruling published on Monday.
The decision also found that Rajput would have had a 60 per cent chance of being appointed to a role as head of markets compliance at the bank in October 2015 if she had not been subjected to unlawful discrimination.
The tribunal found that Commerzbank directly discriminated against Rajput because of her gender, including an incident in 2015 where a male colleague was treated as the senior member of the team despite Rajput’s position as deputy head of markets compliance. It also found her application for the role of head of markets compliance was not fairly considered.
It ruled that on her return from maternity leave in 2016, Rajput found that “substantial” elements of her job had been transferred to another colleague and she was discouraged from attending a quarterly review meeting during maternity leave “because of assumptions made about what a woman should do whilst on maternity leave”.
Rajput, who joined Commerzbank in 2012, was made redundant in 2020 when Commerzbank sold its equities and commodities business to Société Générale.
In a tribunal hearing in January to hear arguments about her compensation, Elaine Banton, barrister for Rajput said that Commerzbank’s behaviour had “crushed” her client. In Rajput’s witness statement submitted to the tribunal, the compliance officer said this and the resulting litigation had “destroyed me mentally”.
Employment judge Natasha Joffe concluded in the ruling on Monday that the events “represented a very significant setback for the claimant in her career” and were a “very significant detriment to a woman newly back from maternity leave of finding that much of her role had been handed over to a more junior employee and not returned to her”.
The case has a long history. Rajput first filed a claim in 2017 and won her employment lawsuit against Commerzbank in 2018 but the bank then successfully appealed against parts of the original tribunal findings — although part of her case was upheld. Rajput then fought the case again with a rehearing in May 2022 and the tribunal ruled in her favour in September 2022 on three claims of sex discrimination and one of harassment.
Commerzbank said: “We are disappointed with the tribunal’s decision on liability and are in the early stages of an appeal. The bank strives to offer an inclusive working environment and does not tolerate workplace discrimination of any sort.”
Gerard Airey of Kilgannon and Partners, who represented Rajput said: “Jagruti is delighted with the outcome given by the Tribunal. It has been a long campaign for her and this is an important victory.”