Click on the links below to read press reports on this case in which Paul Gilroy QC is acting for BAE Systems.
The Evening Standard: “Arms giant fights payout for sex discrimination”
The Mail: “BAE Systems fights £360,000 payout to secretary, 53, sacked over a ‘single sexist comment’ at work by branding the punishment an ‘affront to justice'”
The Times reported:
BAE has asked the appeal court to reduce the damages to Ms Konczak, of Blackburn, Lancashire, claiming the award was “grossly excessive”. Ms Konczak had worked as a secretary for BAE in Lancashire since 1998. She complained she was being bullied by four male colleagues.
Her lawyers insist that the payout was fair because the comment by her manager, Jeremy Dent, “pushed her over the edge” into a psychiatric breakdown that amounted to a disability. She was initially awarded £33,416 by an employment tribunal for sex and disability discrimination but a series of appeals meant the amount was increased to £318,629 in 2013 and £360,178 the next year.
Her barrister, Tristan Jones, said the reason Ms Konczak “has not been in work since April 2006 is that BAE discriminated against her and then, a year later, when she was fit and keen to return, refused to let her return, victimised her, and dismissed her unfairly. These lengthy proceedings have prolonged her illness.”
Paul Gilroy, QC, for BAE, argued the payout was set far too high for a “single complaint of sex discrimination”. He said Ms Konczak claimed to have “experienced numerous adverse and stressful workplace events” before the manager’s comment and it was wrong to blame his words alone for all the psychiatric problems she has suffered
The court has reserved its ruling.CLICK here to view full report (The Times Paywall applies)