BNP Paribas will have to pay more than 2 million pounds in damages to one of its London employees, Stacey Macken, who had sued the French bank for wage discrimination.
“This is a historic case, not only because it is one of the highest sums ever awarded by a British labor court,” commented lawyer Sheila Aly, in a written statement received by AFP. Tuesday.
“It is also the first case of its kind in the UK where a judgment has been given in favor of equal pay against an international investment bank, which takes into account not only salary but bonuses and other forms compensation,” she added.
This victory “sends a clear message to the sector that this type of discrimination is not acceptable”, she concludes. Stacey Macken, still employed by BNP Paribas according to her lawyer, says she cannot comment further as she is still in dispute with the bank over the settlement of her legal costs.
“When the time is right, I will tell my story and people will be shocked to learn of the barriers women have to overcome to be treated like their male colleagues,” she added in a statement to AFP.
Ms. Macken had won her discrimination lawsuit against the French bank in 2019 – but the courts had yet to decide on the amount of damages.
She claimed that her salary was 25% less than that of a male broker colleague and that her first-year bonus was less than half hers, for equal work and despite similar assessments of their performance for equivalent positions. In her complaint, she had described a humiliating and toxic work environment, between degrading and contemptuous remarks. She had also found a witch hat on her desk.
A BNP Paribas spokeswoman contacted by AFP said Tuesday that the bank “understands having failed in its duties to Ms. Macken”. She adds that BNP Paribas has launched a program of corrective measures including an annual evaluation of equal pay or management training.
A report published in early 2020 by the Fawcett Society fighting gender inequality estimated that the UK was still “generations” away from achieving equality between women and men, who “dominate all sectors of British public life”. He called for the establishment of “quotas, objectives, labor flexibility measures, publication of wage differentials” and other proactive measures.
At the end of 2019, around a hundred British businesswomen launched an awareness campaign against pay gaps, grouping together under the title #MeTooPay, in the wake of the #MeToo movement against sexual assault.