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A former Swiss Re underwriter whose senior supervisor made lewd feedback about her physique and speculated on her intercourse life has been awarded £1.3mn by a UK employment tribunal.


The payout ranks among the many largest for sexual discrimination at a Metropolis firm. It’s one other mark in opposition to London’s specialist insurance coverage sector, the place tons of of individuals have reported sexual harassment in recent times in a male-dominated market, which has struggled to shake off a repute for chauvinistic behaviour.

Julia Sommer, who labored in London as a political danger underwriter for the Zurich-based insurance coverage and reinsurance group till she was made redundant two years in the past, had her complaints for intercourse discrimination, maternity-related discrimination and sex-related harassment partly upheld by the tribunal, which present in her favour final 12 months. 

Judges accepted that Robert Llewellyn, then world head of Swiss Re’s political danger and commerce credit score group, had informed Sommer in 2017 “I wager you wish to be on high in mattress”, and “If I had breasts like yours I might be demanding too”. 

Llewellyn denied making these remarks, and alleged in return that Sommer had made derogatory feedback about her relationship together with her husband, together with that she was on the lookout for an “open relationship”. 

Sommer’s husband, who was representing her on the tribunal, referred to as these allegations “false, inflammatory and scandalous”, and mentioned that the couple had been attempting to start out a household right now, in line with tribunal filings.

Judges concluded that Llewellyn had “exaggerated” one other assertion made by the claimant about having an open persona into “an allegation which we discovered was meant to denigrate the claimant and undermine her proof”.

The tribunal additionally determined that on one other event — the place Sommer was informed to “shut up” and to take a “extra submissive function” — she wouldn’t have confronted the identical therapy if she had been male.

“The language was primarily based on how he felt the claimant ought to behave as a junior feminine underwriter, he wouldn’t [have] had an analogous view of a male underwriter,” the tribunal mentioned. Nonetheless, it additionally dismissed different claims of victimisation and unequal pay.

Swiss Re mentioned it was “conscious of this judgment, which is self-explanatory and which we have now given cautious consideration to”.

Llewellyn, who has since left Swiss Re, couldn’t be contacted for remark. Sommer declined to remark.

Final 12 months, a former BNP Paribas worker — who mentioned she had a witch’s hat left on her desk after an evening of heavy ingesting — gained £2mn after judges determined that the French financial institution had unfairly discriminated in opposition to her due to her gender.

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