London-based banking giant HSBC is facing a lawsuit for 5 million pounds (approximately 8.7 million US dollars) from a former employee who says he was fired for being a little too light in his banker’s loafers:
Peter Lewis, former global head of equities trading in HSBC’s corporate and investment bank division, will claim that his February, 2005 sacking for “gross personal misconduct” was purely because of his sexual orientation.
The Independent on Sunday said the employment tribunal hearing, scheduled to start in London Monday, was the first of its kind to be brought under new British legislation extending sexual discrimination rules to gays and lesbians.
It also said it will “lay bare the macho, homophobic culture of high finance.”
We are utterly flummoxed by this disheartening news of corporate malfeasance. We praise Mr. Lewis for his bravery in finally bringing to light the issue of banker-bullies. They have terrified society for far too long.
We wish Mr. Lewis all the best in his fight. And we hope he “lays” as many macho bankers as he can get his bare hands on.
But we hope the matter is settled rapidly and peacefully, as we bank at HSBC and we really don’t feel like dealing with a gay boycott. Switching bank accounts is such a hassle. And we’re already boycotting Coors and Cracker Barrel, even though we’re not exactly sure if those boycotts are still going on anymore. Not that it matters, since the only Coors beverage we’d ever drink is Zima, and those went out of style along with tapered-leg jeans; and Cracker Barrel food causes us intestinal disturbances far too indelicate to mention here. Regardless, keeping up these convictions is exhausting work.
That aside, we applaud the British government for protecting its gay citizens on a national level, something which seems to have slipped of our own president’s priority list. We are also horrified that the US dollar has dropped in value so sharply, the British pound is now almost double the dollar’s value. That trip to London will just have to wait…until 2008.