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The recent £2.1 million ($2.8 million) award to a female banker in compensation for sex discrimination is notable for more than its size. The judgment handed down to her employer, BNP Paribas SA, was excoriating — and should serve as a warning to the entire finance industry.

A London employment tribunal found in 2019 that the French lender discriminated against Stacey Macken by underpaying her as much as £40,000 in annual salary relative to a male peer at a comparable level since 2013. BNP also discriminated when setting her bonuses. The case is best known for revealing that Macken once arrived at the office to find a witch’s hat on her desk, likely to have been put there by male colleagues who had been out drinking the night before.

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