Ex-CEO sues HSBC for ‘unfair’ dismissal
London, April 17:
In the City of London’s — the British capital’s business district — first case of homosexual harrassment, a former global head of equity trading at HSBC is suing the investment bank for ‘unfair dismissal on grounds of sexual orientation’ after it fired him for ‘gross personal misconduct’. It is believed that Peter Lewis (43) was dismissed in February after two male colleagues made serious complaints of sexual harassment against him. Lewis had joined the bank just six months earlier from French competitor Societe Generale. One insider said, “I cannot believe this will go to court. Neither of the male bankers involved in the accusations wants to go public over their claims. They are quite embarrassed.”
Another said, “Peter is openly gay. There is no secret about that.” A spokesman for HSBC said, “Peter Lewis was dismissed for gross personal misconduct after a lengthy disciplinary proceeding. He has now elected to take the case to an employment tribunal. But we are very confident about our case in this matter.” The spokesman said he was unsure when the case would actually go to court. “The timing is for the tribunal to set,” he added. A solicitor acting for Lewis said, “His claim will be vigorously pursued and he is confident of success. There is no question of any allegation of financial impropriety or failure at work.” Lewis’s role has now been taken over by Joe Belfatto, who was parachuted in from HSBC’s New York offices to assume the position of global head of equities. Insider Mark Ramsay had resigned the position
just weeks after accepting it. He has now assumed the role of ‘head of staff’ within the investment bank.