Former Deutsche Bank Female Banker Loses Discrimination Lawsuit

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 18 January 2023


The case is one of the more high-profile actions brought in recent years. It touched on issues of discrimination over age and gender.

A former Deutsche Bank banker has lost her £4.6 million ($5.6 million) discrimination lawsuit that she had brought against the firm, claiming that she was made redundant due to a “culture of sexism and ageism” at the lender, reports said.

Elisabeth Maugars, a managing director at the Frankfurt-listed bank, said (source: Daily Mail) that the decision by Deutsche to let her go was “perverse,” “irrational” and “heinous” and that there was a “boys club” at work that discriminated against her as an “older woman.” 

Maugars, 59, told an East London tribunal that colleagues called her “Christine Lagarde” – who is the President of the European Central Bank – because both women are French and have grey hair, the report said.

When she was dismissed from the bank, she attempted to sue it for £4.6 million.

However, her claims of unfair dismissal, age discrimination and sex discrimination failed to sway the tribunal. It said she was treated fairly.

“We are pleased with the outcome of the tribunal. We remain engaged in actively creating, promoting and maintaining a culture of inclusivity and respect at Deutsche Bank,” a spokesperson for the lender told WealthBriefing in an emailed statement.

Maugurs had worked in banking for 35 years, and joined Deutsche Bank in 2015 when she was 52. Her role was managing director of non-recourse lending. Five years later she was placed at risk of redundancy and dismissed in October 2020. Explaining why Deutsche Bank made her redundant, the bank said her US counterpart brought in £29 million in business in the previous year while she brought in £6 million, reports said.

Maugars argued to the tribunal that there must be “something more” to her redundancy as it was “so perverse and irrational, even heinous.”

“Employment Tribunal cases are always very fact sensitive and this case is no exception. On its face, it is hard to see how the comments directed at the claimant were not found to be discriminatory, but the Judge did not side with the claimant in this case. Maybe the witnesses and evidence for the bank was more persuasive as to the reasons for the termination,” Kingsley Napley employment lawyer Natasha Forman, said of the case’s outcome. 

“We still so often see the ‘boys club’ culture in the City and within financial institutions, as well as a perceived need to conform to an ideal of youth in the workplace, but whether that leads to someone’s redundancy or dismissal is not always clear cut,” Forman continued. “Whether comments constitute harassment under the Equality Act is also not clear cut. It is not all about the perception of the alleged victim or the effect of a culture or comments on the alleged victim, but also the Tribunal must consider whether it was reasonable for the conduct to have that effect. It will be interesting to see if the claimant appeals today’s decision.”

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