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Barclays VP sues for $290,000, alleging discrimination

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A Barclays bank building is seen at Canary Wharf in London

By Nell Mackenzie

LONDON (Reuters) -A Barclays vice president is suing the British bank for about 230,000 pounds ($290,000), alleging she was passed over for promotion because of racial, religious and sex discrimination.

Nazia Lawrence joined the bank in 2015 and works in execution services, a back office part of the bank that helps to implement post-crisis risk management rules. It also handles risk and controls.

Lawrence said in a statement as part of a London employment tribunal that she felt “completely let down” by Barclays, court filings in London showed on Tuesday.

Barclays declined to comment.

"There is a real need for more transparency in the city so that perceptions of discrimination can be avoided. There is little to no need to hide actions if they really are genuine," said Sheila Aly, Lawrence's lawyer, and a barrister in London.

After the bank expanded Lawrence's role in 2019 and as she continued to receive outstanding performance reports, she was treated less favourably than white male colleagues at the same professional level, who were promoted while she was not, Lawrence alleges in the court filings.

When she spoke up to mentors, they offered her new responsibilities that she was told would likely lead to a promotion, her statement said.

But as job vacancies at the British bank arose, she watched white male and female colleagues promoted above her, even as she gave one of them guidance on their duties, the filings said.

After her complaints grew more vocal and formalised through official grievances, her performance ratings began to fall, the court filings said.

They also said she suffered mental distress and took annual leave and periods of unpaid sick leave to recover.

In addition to financial compensation, Lawrence has asked the Employment Tribunal to recommend further training at Barclays and a transparent process to be outlined and adopted for promotions.

The case continues.

$1 = 0.7942 pounds)

(Reporting by Nell Mackenzie; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe, Barbara Lewis and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)