London, Nov 4 (ANI): Two Brit women have claimed that they were forced to leave their jobs after sexist and racist Japanese bosses kept degrading them by passing lewd comments.
Maureen Murphy, a 55,000pounds-a-year senior analyst, and 37-year-old New Zealander Anna Francis, a director on 250,000 pounds who speaks fluent Japanese, are suing Nomura for 3million pounds for sex and race discrimination and unfair dismissal.
The pair worked in Asian equities sales at Lehman Brothers in London's Canary Wharf before the bank's spectacular collapse at the start of the economic crisis.
When Nomura, one of Japan's best-known investment banks, took over part of the business, the pair expected equally prominent roles, but their Japanese bosses withheld work and axed them within weeks because they were female and non-Japanese, they allege.
Nomura strenuously denies the allegations and insists the move was part of a fair redundancy process to reduce the size of the team by a quarter.
"This organisation is institutionally racist and sexist in the way it behaves," the Daily Express quoted the pair's barrister Michael Duggan as telling a Central London employment tribunal.
Murphy, of Islington, north London, also revealed that no one raised an eyebrow in a meeting at Nomura when a client used the word "honkers" to refer to a woman trader's breasts.
She also claims a male colleague told her "women belong at home cleaning the floor" and another said the key to cheating on wives was "not getting caught".
Giving evidence to the tribunal on November 3, Francis, of Paddington, west London, told how before the takeover she was working 60 hours a week, and earned 75,000 pounds a year plus a 175,000 pounds annual bonus.
But after Nomura bought the bank's Asian equities operation last October, she said there was "obvious hostility" from Nomura staff for fear their roles would be usurped.
Francis claimed that in a conference call with up to 1,000 global peers, a male colleague humiliated her by saying: "Don't listen to her. She is just a Kiwi".
Each is seeking 1.5million pounds in compensation for loss of earnings and injury to feelings.
"Nomura maintains it acted fairly in the dismissal of Anna Francis and Maureen Murphy by reason of redundancy as part of a wider reorganisation following the Lehman Brothers acquisition," a bank spokesman said afterwards.
The case is still continuing. (ANI)