Stacey Macken sued the French bank BNP Paribas after being continuously belittled by her boss who kept telling her, “not now, Stacey”. The phrase was used so often that colleagues started to copy it.
At one point Stacey had a witch’s hat left on her desk by drunk male colleagues.
Stacey claimed that over a period of four years she received hundreds of thousands of pounds less than her male colleagues in salary and bonuses. She earned £120,000 a year as a finance specialist. When she complained, her managers targeted her with unfair treatment.
Stacey joined the French bank in 2013 and was soon exposed to sexism according to her claim. Unknown to her at time a male was hired with the same job title and responsibilities but was receiving £40,000 a year more that she was.
The Employment Tribunal Judge, Emma Burns, stated that Macken’s bosses had acted “spitefully and vindictively”. The leaving of the witch’s hat on Stacey’s desk was an “inherently sexist act” and the continuous use of the phrase, “not now, Stacey” was a “demeaning comment”.
Judge Burns stated, “we consider the bank should apologise more fully from a purely moral perspective, but we decline from ordering it to do this. In our judgement, for an apology to be effective in needs to be genuine and heartfelt rather than ordered. We have taken into account the bank’s failure to apologise when awarding aggravated damages. We consider this is the correct approach in this case.”
The bank has claimed to have now adopted a “detailed gender strategy and gender action plan” and it is “trying to increase the number of women at senior management level”.
Stacey Macken was awarded £2,081,449 by the tribunal.