Former senior underwriter Jane Hayes who alleged she was unfairly deprived of £2 million worth of shares after taking maternity leave has lost her case for sexual discrimination and constructive dismissal.

The 36-year-old, who earned more than £100,000 a year, said Charman Underwriting Agencies did not give her shares which were allocated to male employees of equivalent status partly because she took maternity leave in 1994 and in 1996.

She said that because she was given only £2.5 million of shares while some of her colleagues at the firm based in the Lloyd's building in Central London, got over £4 million, she lost out on millions when the company was taken over in 1998.

But John Charman, managing director of the Lloyd's underwriting agency now trading as ACE Global Markets, told an industrial tribunal he had passed her over in 1994 because she was "in it for herself", she was not a key player and did only a "minimum amount" of work. "The decision had nothing to do with her having a baby, being a mother or taking maternity leave," he said.

After the tribunal rejected her claims, the company said it had agreed to pay Mrs Hayes notice money which they had "always accepted" was her due.