London, Sep 15 (ANI): A female accountant, who claims that a top City firm deliberately sabotaged her career and made her feel "like a prostitute", has launched a 40million pounds demand for compensation.
Romanian-born Michaela Popa, 31, is seeking record damages from auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers, claiming that the firm vindictively pursued a campaign to wreck her future job rospects.
Popa quit her accountancy job with the company in November 2006 after a nervous breakdown.
She launched legal action alleging that she was made to feel like a prostitute, and abused by a male colleague who told her "Eastern Europeans are whores".
She lost the case and went on to find employment with two City banks, UBS and Credit Suisse.
But after being made redundant by both firms she alleged that PwC had pursued a campaign of victimisation against her, using poor references to adversely influence her new employers.
Despite earning only 40,000 pounds a year, Popa is demanding 40million pounds in compensation for loss of earnings and hurt feelings.
PwC has strenuously denied victimisation and described Popa, who has also sued UBS and Credit Suisse over her redundancies, as a "vexatious litigant".
She graduated in business administration in Bucharest before joining PwC's Romanian office in September 2000 as an assistant auditor.
In June 2003, she gained an MBA from the Chicago-based University of Illinois, before joining PwC's mergers and acquisitions team in that city.
She transferred to the London office in September 2004 and has claimed she was given assurances that she could soon become a partner, which would have netted her at least 750,000 pounds a year.
During legal arguments at the beginning of the case Popa alleged PwC had set out to deliberately sabotage her career prospects elsewhere.
"I was victimised in the communication between them and my future employers, including the two references they gave for me," the Daily Express quoted her as telling the Central London Employment Tribunal.
"Other communication between the firms has taken place since I left that has made me feel harassed and victimised and forms part of my claim," she said.
Popa claimed some PwC colleagues made offensive and racist remarks, some referring to her as a "communist spy".
The original tribunal called the history of her working relationship with PwC "a sad story of a very able executive failing to fit happily into the work regime of PwC in London, becoming increasingly depressed and, in that state, misinterpreting the actions of those around her".
"PricewaterhouseCoopers strenuously denies the allegations made by Miss Popa in relation to her employment with the firm from 2004 to 2006," a PwC spokesman said.
"We successfully defended a number of complaints at an employment tribunal heard in November 2007. That tribunal completely exonerated PwC.
"Miss Popa then failed in her attempt to secure an appeal. Miss Popa is now raising a different claim in relation to the period since she left the firm.
"We believe this new claim is completely without merit and will fight the claim vigorously and are confident that we will again be found to have acted entirely appropriately," he added. (ANI)