Calling an older female banker who would not dye her hair “Christine Lagarde” was not discrimination, a tribunal has ruled.
The female banker, who complained about being nicknamed Christine Lagarde by male colleagues, lost a £4.6 million discrimination claim in a “crushing blow”.
Elisabeth Maugars, a managing director at Deutsche Bank who earned a £295,000 salary, claimed she was made redundant because of a “culture of sexism and ageism” at the bank and described the decision to let her go as “perverse”, “irrational” and “heinous”.
She said that there was a “boys’ club” at work discriminating against her as an older woman who refused to dye her hair, the tribunal heard.
Ms Maugars told how co-workers called her “Christine Lagarde”, a comparison to the President of the European Central Bank based on the fact that both are women, are French and have grey hair.
After losing her job she took the bank to the tribunal claiming £4.6 million in damages but her claims of unfair dismissal, age discrimination and sex discrimination all failed after a panel ruled she was treated fairly.
An employment judge found that the nickname was “part of the irritation of day to day office life which occasionally occurs”.
The East London tribunal heard that Ms Maugars had worked in banking for 35 years and was “very successful”.
In 2015, at the age of 52, she joined Deutsche Bank as Managing Director of Non-Recourse Lending, based in London.
Five years later she was “genuinely shocked” when – during the pandemic – she was placed at risk of redundancy and dismissed in October 2020. In laying out the reasoning for her selection for redundancy, the bank pointed out her US counterpart brought in £29 million in business