Two Muslim Women Take Lloyds Bank to Court for DiscriminationPublished on Mon Feb 06 2023 - modified on Thu Mar 16 2023
16 March 2023, London and Amsterdam
After being sanctioned for posting messages in support of Palestine on their internal work portal, two Muslim women are suing their employer for discrimination. Lloyds Bank PLC (“LBP” or “Lloyds”) is one of the biggest banks in the UK.
In May 2021, Affy and Aliya posted messages in support of the Palestinian people and criticising illegal Israeli policies on their internal online portal, a platform where social issues are often discussed between employees. At the time, the Israeli army was bombing the occupied Gaza Strip, an attack that resulted in the killing of 236 Palestinian civilians. Affy also expressed her desire for LBP to boycott HP, a company that provided servers to run the ID systems that Israel uses to restrict Palestinian movement, and raised concerns on the impact of this on LBP’s ethical business activity.
Lloyds decided to investigate Affy and Aliya about the posts. Findings of ‘gross misconduct’ were made against both women for breaching the Lloyds’ policies on professional integrity, personal integrity – which include rules about discrimination, harassment and abusive content – and doing business responsibly. They received written warnings which could remain on their records indefinitely and were both reported to the Financial Conduct Authority for failing ‘to act with due skill, care and diligence’.
This has had serious consequences in Affy and Aliya’s personal and professional lives. Affy, was 21 at the time, lost a prestigious graduate role with a £60,000 starting salary as a result of Lloyds’ sanctions. Affy and Aliya both lost their annual bonuses. Both are anxious about their future careers and now fear reprisal for raising concerns about socially responsible business or speaking about Palestine.
To get these sanctions removed, and to defend the right to speak about Palestine, Affy and Aliya are taking LBP to court for discrimination.
We should all be freed from discrimination based on our beliefs or our opinions about a just cause. We are taking this legal fight to end discrimination in our workplace. said Aliya.
The European Legal Support Center (ELSC) is supporting Affy and Aliya in their legal fight to get their sanctions revoked and their professional reputations restored. Giovanni Fassina, the Director of the ELSC, comments:
We have taken on this case to defend Affy and Aliya’s rights to advocate for Palestinian rights in their workplace, including through education and actions around corporate complicity in human rights abuse. This case is a clear manifestation of anti-Palestinian racism, a form of discrimination that silences, excludes, and defames Palestinians and their allies with slander such as being inherently antisemitic, and a dangerous restriction of free speech.
The ELSC launched a crowdfunding campaign to help both employees cover the costly legal fees of their lawsuit against Lloyds, one of the biggest banks in the UK. The costs are estimated to be at least £30,000.
Affy’s hearing is set to take place in June 2023 at the London Central Employment Tribunal. Aliya is in the process of applying to have her case adjoined to Affy’s.
 To read more about anti-Palestinian racism, see ACLA, Anti-Palestinian Racism: Naming, Framing and Manifestations, April 2022, available at: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/61db30d12e169a5c45950345/t/627dcf83fa17ad41ff217964/1652412292220/Anti-Palestinian+Racism-+Naming%2C+Framing+and+Manifestations.pdf
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