A City lawyer who claimed she was pestered to have an affair by her married boss, now a Tory MP, was simply “looking for cash”, an employment tribunal heard today.
Patronia Campbell, 49, claimed she had a fling with Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, after boozy works drinks in June 2011.
They were both colleagues at the administrators of collapsed Lehman Brothers International Europe (LBIE) and before Mr Merriman was elected as an MP.
He allegedly told her he wanted to marry her after the one night stand.
But after rejecting his pleas to have an affair managing director Mr Merriman allegedly subjected her to unjustified criticism of her performance, engineered situations to allow others to criticise her, and also gave her unfair ratings in an annual review.
Ms Campbell, who earned £130,000 a year plus bonuses, has taken the bank to the East London employment tribunal claiming she was harassed, victimised and unfairly dismissed.
The tribunal heard she while still employed at the bank she was signed off work with stress and was left “feeling like a zombie.”
Today the hearing was told about a grievance she filed to the bank in February 2014, in which she had requested a “suitable exit plan” due to the harassment and bullying she had suffered.
Representing Lehman Brothers, James Laddie QC said: “I put it to you that throughout this process you have been looking for cash from the beginning to the end?”
Ms Campbell replied: “I was looking to get my contractually agreed bonus payment, and I took advice about the intimidation, bullying and side-lining that I had been through since 2011 and there was an additional amount I could claim.”
Mr Laddie’s also accused her of having “completely invented” a mental illness she claimed she had developed as a result of her treatment.
The tribunal heard that part of Ms Campbell’s original claim was struck out by employment judges before the start of the full hearing, when she was seeking £500,000.
She is now seeking £250,000 from her former employer who she worked for from 2011 to 2014.
During her cross examination today she told the hearing details of meeting held in January 2014 about her performance the year before.
As a result of that meeting she was given a performance rating of four, one of the lowest possible, which left her “traumatised” and meant she would not get her full bonus for the year.
It was following this meeting she filed her grievance claiming the performance report it was not a fair representation of the work she had done.
She was also asked about an incident at a work Christmas lunch at The Gun pub in 2013 when she received a male doll with a corkscrew for a penis, with a photo of colleague stuck on its face, from Rick Sandilands head of trust legal.
She claimed that Huw Merriman had put Mr Sandilands up to giving her the gift secret Santa gift.
Mr Laddie QC said to Ms Campbell there was no evidence Mr Merriman “encouraged him to give him the gift” and that he didn’t know about it.
Ms Campbell said: “I suspected that he may have said something to Rick because I couldn’t understand why he would give that. I have no direct evidence that they spoke about me.”
She was asked that as there was no proof of Mr Merriman being involved, would she still pursue that complaint of victimisation.
Ms Campbell refused to back down and said refused to drop the complaint.
Mr Merriman, who became an MP in 2015, married in 2001 and has three young daughters, denies the one night stand took place.
Last week the tribunal heard Ms Campbell, who claims Mr Merriman was a notorious womaniser who’s had a string of affairs, said he wanted to marry her after a Christmas lunch in 2012.
Ms Campbell’s grievance was dismissed at a grievance appeal, which she alleged was an act of victimisation.
She was eventually made redundant from the company at the end of 2014, which she claims was unfair as she was unfairly selected for redundancy.
The tribunal continues.
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