Hina Belitz, Employment Law Specialist at Excello Law, has written an article for Personnel Today exploring whether ‘Sex harassment claims could multiply after Swiss Re case’.
In the article, Hina Belitz discusses a recent case at Swiss Re where a former underwriter was awarded £1.3 million by an employment tribunal due to sex discrimination, maternity discrimination, and sexual harassment by a senior manager. The harassment included derogatory comments about the claimant’s body and sex life. This significant remedy covers past and future loss of earnings and non-financial losses, making it one of the largest sexual discrimination payouts in a City company, signaling progress in addressing workplace discrimination.
Hina Belitz highlights that sexual harassment cases like the Swiss Re case are rare in court due to the high costs and lengthy legal proceedings. Many cases are settled outside of court, with victims accepting financial compensation to avoid the challenges of litigation. Belitz also emphasises that sexual harassment is prevalent in the workplace, and senior managers need to learn about acceptable conduct following the #MeToo movement.
The article questions whether such mistreatment results from ignorance or calculated behavior by high-level executives who believe they are untouchable due to the historical lack of cases against them. Belitz underscores that while court cases may not be realistic for many victims of harassment, the Swiss Re case represents progress in holding executives accountable for their behavior and sends a message that the traditional “boys’ club” culture in the financial services industry will no longer be tolerated as easily.