UK Tribunal Issues Split Ruling in Sexual Orientation Discrim Case

May 5, 2006 ( - A UK employment tribunal on Friday ruled that a former HSBC senior banker had gotten less favorable treatment because he was gay, but he had not been fired because of it.

The tribunal attacked HSBC ‘s first investigation of allegations from Peter Lewis, upholding a quarter of his 16 claims against HSBC, the world’s third largest bank, Reuters reported.

“We have decided that there are facts from which the tribunal could conclude…less favorable treatment on the grounds of sexual orientation but…the decision to dismiss was not in fact influenced by…sexual orientation,” the tribunal said in its 68-page ruling, according to the news report.

Lewis, who was formerly head of HSBC ‘s global equity trading business, was fired for gross personal misconduct in 2004 following an alleged sexual harassment incident at the bank’s gym, the news report said.

He denied the incident and launched a £5 million ($9.26 million) discrimination suit against the bank, claiming he was sacked because he was gay – charges which HSBC denied.

After Friday’s ruling, HSBC said it was pleased the tribunal had rejected the main points of Lewis’ claim, but was “disappointed and surprised by the adverse findings of the tribunal on four of the 16 points of Mr. Lewis’ claim.”