British banker claims he was forced out of job to make way for younger Australian woman, tribunal hears

Telegraph Reporters
John Marshall leaves the Central London Employment Tribunal - Henry Nicholls /

A British banker is claiming he was forced out of his job to make way for younger Australian woman, a tribunal has heard.  

John Marshall, 60, was head of finance and operations at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia when he was made redundant in June 2016, after 27 years at the bank. Aussie Debbie Lotz, 47, moved to London from the head office in Sydney nine months earlier, and Mr Marshall told the tribunal that Ms Lotz had been told that she would be taking his role in March.

It was clear to me that Debbie [Lotz] had not been selected because she was better for the role than I was.

John Marshall

Mr Marshall told the Central London Employment Tribunal: "It was clear to me that Debbie had not been selected because she was better for the role than I was, it seemed that the most obvious difference between us was our age but I was also concerned that Debbie may have been preferred because she is a woman, or because she is Australian."

He added that staff in the London office felt that head office staff were favoured, that Australian staff were seconded to London with little consultation, and that Ms Lotz was counselling Australian members of his team without his knowledge. 

Judge David Pearl said: "Had she just barged in with her size 11's trampling all over your territory?"

Mr Marshall replied: "I think they were probably responding to an offer, it would be strange to make an offer to someone else's team without clearing it with their manager first."

Debbie Lotz, who moved to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's London office from Sydney 

The day before filing a grievance Mr Marshall looked through Ms Lotz's desk. He told the tribunal that he did this as part of a clean desk review to ascertain whether any key bank information was accessible and discovered a 'target chart' detailing redundancies and the team restructure.

Mr Marshall, of Tonbridge, Kent, said: "The chart labelled 'target' showed a plan to reduce headcount in London with six roles to be made redundant.

"Below that a list of five roles to be created appeared. What the chart showed was that Debbie was to take my role.

"I was so shocked and appalled by what I had read that I didn't know what to do. I think I may have closed the drawer and walked away before deciding that I ought to take copies."

He added: "Moreover it confirmed that he had told Debbie this as early as March 2016 though I wasn't told until the middle of June."

Gavin Mansfield QC accused Mr Marshall of taking copies of the chart for his own personal gain and could have contacted Ms Lotz's manager to say she was not locking drawers.

The Bank deny the claims, saying it was a straightforward redundancy.

The hearing continues