10 September 2007
HSBC accused of discrimination
Banking giant HSBC has been accused of homophobia in the way it treated a senior banker.
An employment tribunal is hearing the case of Peter Lewis, the former head of equity trading at HSBC, who is arguing that he was discriminated against during an investigation by HSBC over allegations relating to an indecent sexual act.
The accusations had been made against Mr Lewis by another banker and Mr Lewis, who is gay, claimed that HSBC had been in "a rush to judge" when investigating the allegations.
Speaking at the tribunal in east London, 46-year-old Mr Lewis said that HSBC's investigation had been conducted on the basis that "as a gay man, I was guilty as charged", while his lawyer claimed the fact Mr Lewis was a gay man "sealed his fate".
HSBC has denied any wrongdoing in its handling of the investigation and insists that Mr Lewis was treated no differently to any other employee in would be in such a situation.
But Mr Lewis argued that discrimination and homophobia are rife within the financial services sector as a whole.
The tribunal is expected to last two weeks.