Abn Amro racism case falls flat in London
An employment tribunal in London today ruled against ABN AMRO in an unfair-dismissal suit, but dismissed claims by the plaintiff that she was dismissed because she was Black.
ABN Amro’s former U.K. head of legal, Angela Cobbina, 41 had sued the bank saying she was subjected to racial discrimination by Paul Schuilwerve, the former chief executive officer of the bank’s U.K. unit. She told the court that Schuilwerve said he couldn’t see her in a photograph, made comments about the Blackfriars area of central London and that he also mentioned Blackadder, a television comedy. Schuilwerve testified on March 3 that his comments had not been intended as racist and that Cobbina’s racism allegations were unfair and “deeply hurtful.” The tribunal dismissed the discrimination aspects of the lawsuit today, but agreed with Cobbina that her dismissal in September 2013 wasn’t fair. The tribunal didn’t provide a written ruling or reasons for the decision, Bloomberg.com reported. It said damages could be capped at about 70,000 pounds ($117,000). Cobbina’s lawyer Emma Sanderson said that the tribunal disagreed with the bank’s insistence that it did nothing wrong. She said the bank had handled Cobbina’s dismissal in a way that was “unfair and unlawful.” And Alex Evans, a spokesman for ABN Amro said the bank was “pleased the judgment supports our strong belief that the various allegations of discrimination on grounds of sex, race and religion were entirely groundless.” Bloomberg quotes Cobbina as satisfied with the ruling. “I always believed that I had been treated unfairly by ABN Amro and the decision of the tribunal has endorsed that belief.”