A City firm is to face whistleblowing and sexual discrimination claims brought by a sacked east Africa-based equity partner following her successful appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
The EAT has told Clyde & Co that it cannot rely upon its previous defence that the overseas-based partner was not a ‘limb’ employee and that it must now return to the employment tribunal to defend the claims. Clyde is seeking leave to appeal.
Krista Bates van Winkelhof became a Clyde equity partner in February 2010 when the firm merged with City firm Shadbolt, for which she had been working in Tanzania on secondment to local firm Ako Law.
Clyde sacked Bates van Winkelhof on 13 January 2011, two months after she had alleged that an Ako Law managing partner was laundering money. Clyde denies wrongdoing. Bates van Winkelhof applied to the employment tribunal to bring a claim of whistleblowing and unlawful sexual discrimination, but a pre-hearing review in July 2011 ruled that it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the case because she was not a ‘limb’ worker - which is to say, a contracted employee working exclusively for the employer.
The EAT overturned this ruling, having heard that Clyde treated Bates van Winkelhof as an employee and had said that she might become a senior equity partner. The case is to return to the employment tribunal for a three-week hearing in November.
A Clyde spokesman said: ‘We regret the breakdown of relations with Ms Bates van Winkelhof, but strenuously deny the entirety of her claims. She was based in Tanzania and therefore we argue has no basis for bringing claims against Clyde in London. We consider the complex issues of jurisdiction raise new points of law which are likely to be of particular interest to the Court of Appeal, to whom we are now seeking leave to appeal.’