Three Black bankers lose UK race discrimination claim against Barclays

By Thomson Reuters Mar 13, 2024 | 12:52 PM

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, the East London Employment Tribunal dismissed the bulk of claims brought by Louis Samnick, a former vice president, vice president Christian Abanda Bella and Henry-Serge Moune Nkeng, an assistant vice president.

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 their disabilities during a 2019 performance review.

In a judgment made public on Wednesday, the judge said health issues faced by Samnick and Abanda Bella were sufficiently significant to allow them compensation for this part of the claim. All other complaints failed.

Barclays did not immediately reply to a request for comment and 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 pounds)

(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; Editing by Toby Chopra)