City bankers’ ‘honkers’ jibe was banter not sexism, tribunal rules

Anna Francis and Maureen Murphy

Case dismissed: Anna Francis, right, and Maureen Murphy had claimed £1.5m each for hurt feelings

City bosses who referred to a female banker’s breasts as “honkers” and said that women “belong at home cleaning floors” were today cleared of discrimination.

Maureen Murphy, 30, and Anna Francis, 37, lost their £3 million tribunal claim after a series of remarks were deemed “trivial” rather than offensive. They said they were forced out of their jobs by sexist and racist Japanese bosses at bank Nomura.

Miss Murphy had told how a fellow worker said the key to cheating on wives was “not getting caught”. She said that no one said anything when a male client told a female colleague: “Oh, you don’t have your honkers out today, I see.”

Miss Murphy said she was made redundant because she was “too outspoken and female”. But a panel at Central London Employment Tribunal ruled that the “incidents and remarks were trivial and not intended to be offensive”.

“Dignity is not necessarily violated by things said or done which are trivial or transitory, particularly where it is clear that no offence was intended. The comment made by a trader that women should be at home cleaning floors does not in isolation amount to an act of sex discrimination.”

The panel rejected each woman’s claim for £1.5 million for loss of earnings and hurt feelings.

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