Sobara Simon-Hart, who worked in the bank’s financial markets group, says that she was subjected to wolf-whistling and racism from colleagues inside and outside the Dubai office.
Wednesday 19, June 2019
(Bloomberg) --Standard Chartered Chief Bill Winters said that the bank, plagued by allegations of misconduct must overhaul its culture, now it’s battling a former lawyer in court who said she suffered from sex and race discrimination.
Simon-Hart said that a co-worker in the compliance team told her he could do what he liked after he stroked her hair without consent in a bar, managers failed to follow up and dismissively dubbed the incident, “Hairgate.”
The bank won the first round in the litigation last week after a London judge ruled that her case cannot be heard in a UK employment tribunal because the alleged misconduct happened in Dubai. Simon-Hart plans to continue her claim and says she’s now considering suing the lender for breach of contract in the UK High Court.
The allegations come as Standard Chartered attempts to move on from a litany of concerns about misconduct, especially in its compliance and legal teams. Since his appointment in 2015, Winters has repeatedly chastised managers for flouting ethics rules and acting as if they were above the law.
In a court filing, Simon-Hart said that the Standard Chartered’s actions have deliberately and calculatedly had a profoundly negative impact on my mental, financial and overall well-being and has entirely disrupted my life and the life of my daughter and our future prospects.
A Standard Chartered spokesman, said, “The bank strongly refuted the claims, which we believe to be without merit, Simon-Hart was employed in the UAE and her employment had no connection to the UK.”
Simon-Hart, who was suffering from depression, was summarily fired after taking extended sick leave in October 2018 after four years at Standard Chartered in Dubai.