A judge branded a Barclays boss “sexist” for repeatedly calling women “birds” and said it was “foolish” of him to think that anyone would take it as banter.
Anca Lacatus, an analyst, said that she was uncomfortable with James Kinghorn’s repeated use of the term to describe women in the workplace.
Ms. Lacatus successfully challenged her former workplace. She had pleaded with Mr Kinghorn to stop using the term several times back in February 2018.
The court heard from the former Queen Mary’s student that her first job as a banker was at Barclays.
Mr Kinghorn defended his use of the word “bird” as light-hearted banter and claimed the comment about HR was a joke.
At the employment tribunal, Mr Kinghorn accepted his language was inappropriate, while Judge John Crosfill said he was “foolish” to think others would find it funny, reports My London.
“The use of the phrase ‘bird’ was a misplaced use of irony which inadvertently caused offence,” Judge said.
“We accept that when this was pointed out to [Mr Kinghorn], he ultimately got the message and stopped trying to be funny.”
He went on: “We find that it is likely that it took some time before Ms Lacatus was sufficiently blunt that the message hit home.
“We have regard to the fact that this was Ms Lacatus’ first job in investment banking.
“As such, we would accept that she would be keen to do well and did not want to be seen as a troublemaker.
“We find that Ms Lacatus would have been reluctant to raise the issue of Mr Kinghorn’s sexist language for fear that her career would be damaged if she did.””Being required to work for the long hours placed [Ms Lacatus] at a substantial disadvantage compared to others without a disability.
“Barclays failure to adjust Ms Lacatus’s hours is in our view a serious act of discrimination and one that was exceedingly thoughtless.”
A spokesperson for Barclays said: “It is crucial that we have an inclusive and respectful culture. We both agree that the language used was offensive and unacceptable, as is the person who used it.”
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