A derogatory comment was made about the underwriter’s breasts 

A junior underwriter who worked at reinsurer Swiss Re, Julia Sommer, has won a sexual discrimination case against her former boss, reported the Metro

Sommer claimed that her boss, Robert Llewellyn, global head of trade credit and political risk, made a derogatory comment about her breasts during work drinks in December 2017.

The discrimination panel concluded that although Llewellyn’s comments may have been intended as a joke, they were - in fact - sexist and demeaning.

The incident occurred after Sommer humorously explained that she would be relocating to London to jostle her boyfriend – now husband – to marry her.

Sommer claimed that Llewellyn replied: “If I had breasts like yours, I would be demanding too.”

She said that she responded by stating that she knows what she deserves and wants, but her boss allegedly smirked and added: “I bet you like to be on top in bed”.

However, when Sommer made a formal complaint about Llewellyn’s remarks, he denied he had made the comments and claimed she had discussed an open relationship, making derogatory comments about her partner.

Sommer denied these claims, stating that at the time, she was undergoing IVF treatment and trying to start a family with her partner.

She raised a further grievance in February 2019, after Llewellyn allegedly told her to “shut up” during a conference call.

Zero tolerance

Sommer eventually left Swiss Re in February 2021 after she was told that her role was at risk of redundancy while on maternity leave - the discrimination panel described this situation as “a sham”, according to the Metro 

Sommer won claims of sex discrimination, maternity-related discrimination, sex-related harassment and unfair dismissal.

A spokesperson at Swiss Re told Insurance Times: ”We note the tribunal’s conclusions and we are giving them full and careful consideration. Swiss Re does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and is committed to providing an equal and inclusive workplace for all employees.

”We are strongly committed to maintaining a culture in which employees feel free to voice their concerns and report suspected misconduct or inappropriate behaviour.

”We have various internal channels to report wrong behaviour as well as an externally operated whistleblowing hotline. In addition, Swiss Re conducts internal training and campaigns to ensure an inclusive and non-discriminatory work environment.”