Black bankers lose race discrimination claim against Barclays

A Barclays bank building is seen at Canary Wharf in London

By Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) -Three Black bankers, who sued Barclays for a combined 52.8 million pounds ($66.7 million) in London over allegations that included race discrimination, harassment, victimisation and whistleblower detriment, have largely lost their case.

In a near 460-page judgment published on Wednesday, the East London Employment Tribunal dismissed almost all claims brought by former Vice President (VP) Louis Samnick, Christian Abanda Bella, a VP, and Assistant VP Henry-Serge Moune Nkeng.

The three men of Cameroonian background, who represented themselves in the lengthy case, had alleged they had been bullied, harassed and denied promotion and appropriate support, in part because of their race.

Samnick, a former vice president in the bank's credit risk model validation team, and Abanda Bella, a quantitative analyst, succeeded with a claim that Barclays had failed to make reasonable adjustments for "sufficiently significant" health problems during a 2019 performance review, the judgment showed.

All other claims failed.

Barclays welcomed the decision. "We are committed to building a diverse and equitable culture where everyone is included and has access to development opportunities throughout their career," a spokesperson said.

Reuters was unable to reach the claimants.

Abanda Bella joined Barclays in 2017 but has been signed off work with depression since 2019. In his 2019 appraisal, carried out in his absence, his performance was assessed as "needs improvement". Samnick, who received the same 2019 performance rating, had been on sick leave since September 2019.

Ranked as a vice president for 10 years, Samnick resigned in 2021 after securing another bank job at executive director grade, the judgment showed.

A remedy hearing will be called if the parties cannot agree compensation for the single failure to make reasonable adjustments for disabilities.

($1 = 0.7813 pound)

(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Toby Chopra and Jonathan Oatis)