Upheld ruling in Commerzbank compliance officer suit imparts discrimination lessons


A recent tribunal ruling against Commerzbank in a case brought by a compliance officer serves as reminder employers should be careful to not make “stereotypical” assumptions about what tasks pregnant female staff or those returning from maternity leave can or should perform, legal experts said.

The London branch of the German bank was found to have discriminated against employee Jagruti Rajput for effectively sidelining her when she returned from maternity leave, a U.K. employment appeal tribunal upheld. The latest judgment in the case was made public Sept. 23 after a tribunal’s earlier ruling in Rajput’s favor was challenged.

Rajput, a senior compliance officer at Commerzbank, complained a substantial part of her work had been given to a male colleague without her knowledge or consent as she returned from maternity leave, and that he was then treated as a senior member—referred to as the “point person”—of the team. She also complained she had been left out of two team meetings: one while she was on maternity leave and another after she had returned to work.

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