Banker fired over sexual harassment sues Barclays for $700,000

By Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) – A former Barclays director, fired for sexual harassment and other misconduct, is suing the British bank for more than 584,600 pounds ($719,412), arguing that female colleagues fabricated allegations and that his dismissal was unfair.

Robert Record, once a senior wealth manager overseeing assets worth 580 million pounds, was dismissed in September 2020 for gross misconduct after a 14-year career, documents available at the East London Employment Tribunal show.

But the 46-year-old, whose claims against the bank include sex discrimination and unfair dismissal, says the most serious allegations never happened, including that he inappropriately touched a female colleague, the filings show.

Cross-examined on Thursday by Barclays’ lawyer Ed Williams, Record said he and others had seen a group of women in meetings and he believed they had been “cooking up the charge sheet”.

“It is my belief that these women encouraged (a female former co-worker) to raise a grievance against me as part of a collective objective to remove me,” he said.

Witnesses who could have corroborated his concerns about women “colluding” against him were not interviewed during subsequent internal investigations, he alleges, adding that he was unable to properly defend himself and that his dismissal was unfair and disproportionate.

Barclays rejects his allegations, saying the dismissal was reasonable because the disciplinary findings included “unwelcome physical contact with a female colleague, sexual harassment of another colleague and language and behaviour which reasonably could be taken to be a racial slur”, filings showed.

The bank declined to comment further on Thursday.

Allegations against Record ranged from excluding a female staffer from a scavenger hunt to behaving in an “intimidating way”, staring at a woman’s breasts and inappropriately touching a female colleague, filings showed.

Record denies the allegations. His lawyer Richard Hignett has questioned whether Barclays staff, investigating the case, properly tested the credibility of complainants.

But Williams, for Barclays, said female employees believed they were being subjected to and were upset by “poor behaviour” at the bank, according to notes of meetings at the time.

“If female members staff wanted to get rid of senior men who were sexual harassers, it has nothing to do with the fact they are men or senior. It is the fact they are sexual harassers. Do you see that point?” he asked.

Record’s case includes a claim for lost past and future earnings, deferred bonuses, pension benefit and injury to feelings.

($1 = 0.8126 pounds)

(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)