MoJAccording to Bloomberg, ABN Amro Group NV’s former top lawyer in the United Kingdom has made a claim for race discrimination after she was dismissed from her position in 2013.

Ms Angela Cobbina, 41, who is black, was head of the legal department for the ABN Amro’s UK operation from 2009 until she was fired in 2013. After being dismissed from her position Ms Cobbina made claims for sex discrimination, race discrimination and unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal, claiming that she had been subjected to a variety of harassing and discriminatory comments during her employment. In particular, Ms Cobbina has apparently made the following allegations in her witness statement:

  • Mr Paul Schuilwerve, an executive at the bank, stating in a June 2013 meeting: “Let’s talk about all things black” and describing himself as a black sheep
  • Mr Schuilweve stating, upon seeing a photo of Ms Cobbina and other employees,: “We cannot see you in the picture”

Ms Cobbina’s Employment Tribunal claim came to the Employment Tribunal yesterday, with a full merits hearing scheduled to last ten days at the Tribunal. Ms Cobbina was yesterday cross-examined by Ms Cobbina, who was asked why she had not made a complaint to the Respondent when the comments were allegedly made by Mr Schuilwerve in June 2013. Ms Cobbina stated: “I didn’t wish to be overly sensitive”. She further claimed in her witness statement that she felt “upset, humiliated and belittled” by Mr Schuilwerve’s comments to her. Mr Schuilwerve is apparently not a Respondent in the claim.

According to ABN Amro, Ms Cobbina is apparently seeking compensation of approximately £300,000 in her claim for sex discrimination and race discrimination.

ABN Amro made the following statement yesterday: “ABN Amro is committed to diversity across its global operations and at every level of the organization. We are confident that this will be the judgment of the employment tribunal and that these claims will be dismissed.”

Ms Cobbina’s solicitor declined to comment yesterday.

The Employment Tribunal hearing continues.

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