What the papers say: Merrill Lynch hit be sexism suit

Merrill Lynch’s defence against Stephanie Villalba’s compensation claim for alleged sexual discrimination, unequal pay and unfair dismissal was lacklustre in the face of headlines such as ‘Another case of sexism in the City’ (The Times, 18 June).

Villalba’s 17-year service at the bank, combined with the seniority of her position before dismissal, added weight to her allegations. Merrill Lynch itself acknowledged that she was ‘an excellent banker’ (The Sunday Times, 13 June).

Merrill Lynch’s assertions that Villalba’s dismissal had been based on ‘performance’ and ‘record losses’ (The Times) lost meaning against the emotive force of the claimant’s statements. ‘I was belittled, bullied, undermined and underpaid’ (The Daily Telegraph, 12 June).

The announcement of a second suit against the bank from lawyer Elizabeth

Weston, backed by a history of US-based discrimination cases, suggested that Merrill Lynch’s ability to ‘spin this case as it has past ones’

(The Sunday Times) looked doubtful. Its ‘reputation for fair dealing is on the line’, added The Observer (13 June).

Analysis conducted by Echo Research from data supplied to PRWeek from NewsNow. www.echoresearch.com www.newsnow.co.uk

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